Learn about the causes of Fainting & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Fainting within New Zealand.
Fainting (or syncope pronounced sin-ko-pea) is a complete/ partial loss of consciousness due to sufficient oxygen reaching the brain. Roots causes could be lack of food, fluids, sleep, low blood pressure or hypoglycaemia, or even lack of sleep. Early signals of this condition are feeling hot, blurred vision, tinnitus, reduced peripheral vision & brownout (dimming of light accompanied by a brown hue). This is folllowed moments later by the vision turning black and the person collapsing
Causes of fainting
Fainting is the brain's defence mechanism when oxygen and blood supply
falls too low for it to function properly. By taking any available
blood and oxygen away from other parts of the body breathing rate
increases (hyperventilation) and the heart rate rises as more blood is
pumped to the brain.
An increase in heart rate causes low blood pressure (hypotension) in the body and when combined with hyperventilation the resulting effect can be a loss of consciousness and weakness in the muscles which causes someone to faint.
There are different types of fainting and each will describe the underlying reasons as to why blood flow to the brain is interrupted.
Neurocardiogenic fainting/syncope – this is the most common cause of fainting and is a short-term malfunction of the autonomous nervous system which leads to a drop in blood pressure and blood flow to the brain. The sight of blood, standing for long periods, being in a hot environment with little air or a sudden episode of stress, anxiety, upset or fear can trigger neurocardiogenic syncope.
Occupational fainting/syncope – this is caused by a sudden strain on the automatic nervous system by a bodily function or activity such as coughing, sneezing, using the toilet or strenuous exercise such as lifting weights.
Orthostatic hypotension – this type of fainting occurs when standing up from a seated position or from lying down. The nervous system counteracts the effect of gravity drawing blood to the legs and reducing blood pressure by narrowing the blood vessels and making the heart beat faster. When something interrupts this process blood pressure doesn't stabilise properly leading to fainting.
The main causes of this type of fainting include:
The symptoms of fainting typically begin with feeling weak and unsteady
which is quickly followed by passing out for a brief moment (usually
just a few seconds).
Fainting can occur when you're on your feet, sitting down or when getting up too quickly. Before fainting you may experience symptoms which suggest you're about to lose consciousness.
These symptoms include:
The majority of fainting cases do not represent a cause for concern but
you should seek medical assessment from your GP if you've had no
previous history of fainting or the fainting occurs frequently.
If you're diabetic, pregnant or have a history of heart disease you should visit your GP. If the fainting is accompanied by chest pain or an irregular heartbeat, or if you take a long time to regain consciousness after fainting seek medical attention.
A GP will perform a physical examination and listen to your heart beat using a stethoscope to check for any underlying heart conditions. They may send you for further tests such as an ECG (electrocardiogram) to record your heart's rhythm and electrical activity.
Other tests for fainting include blood tests to rule out diabetes or anaemia and a tilt-table test which is designed to make you feel light-headed in order to diagnose orthostatic hypotension.