Fainting Isn’t Just a Scary Movie Thing

Fainting is a brief loss of consciousness. While certainly the domain of horror movies and comedy sketches, this is serious business for the person doing the fainting. That’s why we have a specialized Faint and Fall Center at Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates. It is the region’s only multi-specialty center for people suffering from fainting or falls. 

Here’s some more information about fainting. 

What is fainting?

Fainting, clinically called syncope, is a sudden, brief loss of consciousness and posture caused by decreased blood flow to the brain. As your would assume, fainting is usually accompanied by falling. Many different conditions can cause a person to faint: heart problems, seizures, low blood sugar, anemia, and blood pressure issues. There seems to be a genetic predisposition. 

Fainting is more common in the elderly and the falls that ensue can lead to serious injuries such as broken bones or serious cuts. 

Fainting isn’t all that rare. It accounts for 3% of emergency room visits and 6% of hospital admissions. 

What causes fainting?

There are a variety of possible causes of fainting. In young people, a simple fainting episode, called a vasovagal attack, can happen because the blood pressure drops. These can be caused by anxiety, fear, or intense emotional stress — the horror movie fainting. Or the person may simply not have eaten enough or has been drinking or using drugs. These episodes don’t usually involve any underlying heart or neurological problem, and are often singular episodes. 

At our Fainting and Fall Center, we are more concerned with fainting and its impact on the elderly. One cause of this fainting is called postural hypotension, and it involves the way their body regulates blood pressure, particularly when rising from sitting or lying down. 

We also look for heart or blood vessel problems that interfere with blood flow to the brain. These may include heart block (decreased or blocked electrical signals that control your heartbeat), problems with the heart’s sinus node, heart arrhythmia, a blood clot in the lungs, or narrowed aortic heart valves. 

These are just a few of the causes that we look for with our patients in the Fainting and Fall Center at Hunterdon. 

If you’ve had issues with fainting and/or falling, please come see our team at Hunterdon Cardiovascular. Call us at (908) 788-1710 to make an appointment

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