I passed out!

What’s syncope?

When blood flow to the brain is interrupted, you can have an abrupt and complete loss of consciousness. This is called a syncopal event or syncope.

Syncope is often followed by a loss in the muscle. Sometimes, your muscle may briefly shake and you may loose consciousness. Unfortunately, if you are standing up, then you go down. If your are sitting, you may just slump over. Fortunately, there is usually a quick recovery of brain function after a pass-out of syncopal event occurs.

Syncope could be an underlying cause of a heart, blood pressure or nerve problem.  On the other hand, it can be a normal physiological reaction based on external factors.

What causes syncope?

So, here’s the thing. We can all pass out at any time, but we are more likely to pass out with the following conditions:

  • Blood pressure control problems
  • Problems controlling emotional response to fear or pain (i.e. getting a needle stick).
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood glucose
  • Stomach, bowel or bladder dysfunction.

We are also likely to pass out when we are struggling with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and and Alzheimer Disease. A syncopal event can be confused with a seizure, but they are different. During a seizure event, a person can pass out because of abnormal electrical activity sparked from the brain. Instead, when you have a  syncope event, your body tends to hit the floor so that the brain gets enough blood flow when blood pressure drops. So, syncope is actually your nervous system’s protective mechanism for your brain. Unfortunately, injury can occur.

How can I avoid passing out?

First, always stay hydrated. The caveat to that is you will have to use the bathroom more often, but there are overall good benefits of drinking enough water, especially when it’s hot or after exercises. Second, if you feel light-headed or dizzy, these symptom may be a warning for a future syncope event. Third, definitely sit down or lie down immediately and let some someone know that you are feeling ill.  Also, you can check your blood pressure when you are feeling lightheaded.