Should I Be Concerned About Fainting?

Oct 10, 2023
Should I Be Concerned About Fainting?
There are certain things you should never ignore when it comes to your health, and there's a good case for adding fainting to that list. Here's what we want you to know about fainting and why seeking our help is important.

Fainting, blacking out, passing out — these are all descriptions of the same thing, and they mean your brain isn’t getting enough blood and oxygen. The description alone is scary enough, never mind the experience, which is why we want to spend some time discussing fainting in this month’s blog post. 

Here at Gill Neuroscience, our team specializes in neurological issues, and fainting certainly falls under our many areas of expertise. In the following, board-certified neurologist Dr. Paul Gill outlines a few key points to keep in mind about fainting and when seeking our help is a very good idea.

What is fainting?

As we described briefly, fainting occurs when there’s a sudden drop of oxygenated blood flowing to your brain, which can lead to reduced consciousness or a total loss of consciousness. When you faint, it typically lasts for just seconds or minutes.

Medically known as syncope, this is different from losing consciousness due to head trauma, which involves the brain, not the blood flow to your brain.

Why do people faint?

In general, there are three roads to fainting, including:

Cardiac issues

Since low blood pressure and a drop of blood flow to your brain are behind fainting, it makes sense that cardiac issues are often behind the problem. When a heart condition hampers circulation in your body, the issue can play out in terms of fainting.

Carotid block

If something pinches your carotid artery, which is the main blood vessel to your brain, you can faint. This something can be as minor as turning your head too far in one direction or as severe as strangulation.

Vasovagal syncope

This is fainting on the heels of a stressful event that sets off a vasovagal reaction. This reaction  slows your heart and lowers your blood pressure, often quite suddenly.

There are other issues that can lead to fainting, such as certain medications, seizures, and a drop in blood sugar. In reality, we don’t know the cause in about half the cases of fainting, especially if it's a one-time event.

When fainting is problematic

Fainting even once can be alarming, and we feel it’s always a good idea to investigate further. If you’ve fainted more than once, then it truly is a sign that you shouldn’t ignore.

We want you to consider that about one-third of people injure themselves when they faint. This means that getting to the bottom of your fainting event could prevent an injury, especially if you’re older. Fainting occurs twice as often in people over the age of 70 and four times as frequently in people over the age of 80.

For expert diagnosis and treatment of your fainting issues, we invite you to call our office in Houston, Texas, at 832-912-7777, or use our online request form to set up an appointment.