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What is syncope; Types, symptoms, methods of diagnosis and treatment

Study guide

In the medical world, fainting or anesthesia is called syncope. This complication may occur due to decreased blood flow to the brain, which leads to loss of consciousness and muscle control. When a person falls, the blood flow to the brain increases and the person regains consciousness. This is more common than you think. Anyone at any age can have syncope. To prevent syncope and prepare before it happens, we suggest you read this article and get acquainted with this complication.

What is Syncope?

Syncope is a medical term for fainting or anesthesia that occurs due to reduced blood flow to the brain. This complication may occur in the following situations:

  • Sudden drop in blood pressure;
  • Heart rate drop;
  • Changes in the amount of blood in different areas of the body.

If you lose consciousness, you will most likely regain consciousness very quickly, but you may feel confused for a while.

Syncope is relatively common, affecting 3% of men and 3.5% of women at least once in their lifetime. The risk of these conditions increases with age, for example, 6% of people over 75 years of age suffer from this complication. Of course, syncope can occur at any age and can occur in healthy or sick people.

Types of syncope

There are different types of this complication that are caused by its underlying factors.

1. Vasovagal syncope

Vasovagal syncope is the most common type of this complication and occurs when your body reacts to certain stimuli. For example, some people experience syncope when they see blood or severe emotional disturbances, also called neurocardiogenic syncope.

In vasovagal syncope, the stimuli cause your blood pressure and heart rate to drop suddenly. This reduces the blood flow to the brain and you temporarily lose consciousness. Although this type of syncope is safe and does not require treatment, you may be injured during syncope.

The autonomic nervous system is disrupted when this condition occurs and can lower the heart rate and dilate the blood vessels in the legs. In this case, the blood goes to your legs and you become thinner by reducing blood flow to the brain. Some of the stimulants of vasovagal syncope are:

  • Prolonged standing;
  • Exposure to high temperatures;
  • See blood;
  • Donate blood for testing or donation;
  • Fear of bodily injury;
  • Putting pressure on the body.

۲. Situational syncope

Situational syncope is a type of vasovagal syncope. This only happens in certain situations that affect the nervous system, for example:

  • Dehydration;
  • Severe emotional stress;
  • Anxiety;
  • the fear;
  • the pain;
  • Hunger;
  • Alcohol or drug use;
  • Breathing very fast;
  • Forcibly coughing and twisting the neck;
  • Urination.

3. Syncope caused by body condition

This type of syncope occurs when blood pressure drops suddenly due to a change in body position, such as a change from lying down to standing. Some medications and dehydration can also cause this complication. Patients with this complication usually have a systolic or maximal blood pressure drop of at least 20 mm Hg and a diastolic blood pressure of at least 10 mm Hg when standing.

4. Cardiac syncope

Cardiac syncope occurs as a result of cardiovascular disease and affects the blood flow to the brain. This condition may be caused by an abnormal heartbeat or circulatory disorders, some of which can have:

  • Defects in the structure of the heart;
  • Clogged arteries of the heart;
  • Heart valve disease;
  • Aortic stenosis;
  • Blood clot;
  • heart attack.

5. Cerebral syncope

This complication is caused by neurological diseases such as seizures, stroke or transient ischemic attack. Rare diseases such as migraine and hydrocephalus can also cause cerebral syncope, even if the person’s blood pressure is normal.

It is important to know that the cause of syncope in one-third of patients is unknown. Also, an increased risk of syncope can be a side effect of some medications.

Symptoms of syncope

Common symptoms of syncope include:

  • Anesthesia;
  • Feeling weird;
  • Fall for no reason;
  • Dizziness;
  • Feeling drowsy or sluggish;
  • Fainting, especially after eating or exercising;
  • Feeling unstable or weak when standing;
  • A change in vision, such as seeing a point.

Often, patients can already feel syncope. Syncope warning signs include:

  • Confused;
  • Nausea;
  • heart beat;
  • Speech disorder;
  • Weak pulse;
  • Change in body temperature;
  • Cold sweat;
  • Paleness;
  • Vision of blurred or dilated pupils;
  • Feeling distant sounds;
  • numb;
  • Dizziness;
  • Feeling the room rotate;
  • Body weakness;
  • Tremble;
  • Headache.

If you notice these symptoms, you can prevent syncope by sitting or lying down and placing your feet on a higher level.

What should you do when you syncope or faint?

Helping someone with syncope

When you feel the symptoms of this complication, stop working and sit or lie down. Try to keep your body level with the ground and keep your feet above your head. This returns blood to the brain, which is helpful in preventing syncope. Sitting or lying down, even if you faint, you will not suffer any injuries from falling, such as hitting your head.

Contact your doctor if this feeling does not go away or if you feel faint many times. If you need to see a doctor, ask someone else to drive. Driving is very dangerous when you have syncope symptoms.

Helping someone with syncope

If you are worried that someone around you will faint, help them sit or lie down. You can also loosen clothing that interferes with breathing, such as a scarf or tie.

If someone has syncope in your presence and does not regain consciousness after 2 minutes, call the emergency room. While waiting for medical help, turn the person to the side and make sure he or she is breathing. Do not leave him alone and take care of him until the emergency arrives.

When should you see a doctor?

Fainting is not usually a sign of a serious complication, but it is a good idea to let your doctor know about your syncope. After this complication occurs, you can call your doctor and see him if necessary. In this case, you need to see a doctor:

  • You fainted more than once;
  • Anesthesia lasted more than 2 minutes;
  • You are likely to be pregnant;
  • You lose control of your bladder or intestines when you faint;
  • You have an irregular or very strong heartbeat;
  • You have chest pain;
  • Have a history of heart disease, high or low blood pressure, or diabetes.

How is syncope diagnosed?

If you have syncope, your doctor will refer you to a syncope specialist to find out the cause. Assessment of the disease begins with a review of your medical history and physical examination. Your doctor will ask you detailed questions about the symptoms and experience of syncope, including symptoms before and during fainting.

You may need to do one or more tests to determine the cause of syncope. These tests look like this:

  • heart health;
  • heart beat;
  • Blood volume;
  • Blood flow in different situations.

Tests that may be prescribed to diagnose syncope

  • blood test: To study metabolic changes and anemia;
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): To study the neural activity of the heart;
  • fitness test: To check the neural activity of the heart with electrocardiogram during activity;
  • Portable heart monitor: This monitor is placed on the body and collects information about heart rate and rhythm;
  • Echocardiogram: View the image of the heart structure with high frequency sound waves;
  • Sloping bed: Measuring blood pressure and heart rate while lying on different slopes;
  • Blood volume test: Blood count according to gender, height and weight;
  • Testing involuntary reactions: Measuring reactions such as blood pressure, blood flow, heart rate, skin temperature and sweating to various stimuli. In this way, your doctor will make sure that your autonomic nervous system is working properly.

By performing these tests, the doctor can determine the underlying cause of the syncope. Other tests may be needed, as explained by your doctor.

Syncope treatment

Treatment for syncope will be based on the disease, which will be determined after the doctor evaluates and performs tests. The goal of treatment is to prevent syncope. These treatments include:

  • Taking medication or changing medications you are currently taking;
  • Wearing special clothing, such as tight socks to improve blood circulation;
  • Change your diet, such as eating small, frequent meals, eating more salt, drinking more fluids, increasing your dietary potassium, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol;
  • Raising the top of the bed and your head while sleeping, which can be done using extra pillows or raising the base of the bed;
  • Avoid stimuli or conditions that may cause syncope;
  • Treatment of underlying heart disease.

Repeat syncope

With proper diagnosis and treatment, syncope can be controlled. If you have ever had this complication, you are 30% more likely to get it again. The risk of re-syncope and its impact on you depends on a number of factors, including underlying cause, age, gender, and other illnesses.

Syncope prevention methods

If fainting is due to a specific stimulus, you should avoid it. Common stimuli of syncope include:

  • Sudden change of posture, such as standing up quickly;
  • Standing for a long time;
  • Severe pain or fear;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Water shortage;
  • Severe fatigue.

If you are worried about blood clotting in your legs, contract your legs and exercise. You can also use tight socks. After syncope, drink plenty of fluids and avoid stressful situations.

Concluding remarks

Syncope is not usually a serious complication, but it is important to know why. Fainting can be a sign that you need to reduce your stress or pay more attention to your water and food intake. The most important thing is to do the following when you feel the symptoms before fainting:

  • Keep calm and have controlled breathing;
  • Sit and place your head between your legs or lie down and place your feet above your head;
  • Tell your doctor if you lose consciousness.

Depending on when you feel faint, you can identify and avoid your syncope stimuli. With the above mentioned and consulting your doctor, you can easily deal with syncope and have a healthier life.

Warning! This article is for educational purposes only and you should consult your doctor or specialist to use it. more information






What is syncope; Types, symptoms, methods of diagnosis and treatment

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