Fainting is abrupt loss of consciousness due to the lack of blood flow to the brain. Individuals who faint usually wake up rapidly after the collapse. The management is relatively simple and only allowing the individual to recover while lying flat. The treatment of the underlying cause for the fainting is more important than immediate care. Oftentimes, the only way to pinpoint the cause is to check any chronic health issues and recent illnesses or activities.
Most cases of fainting are triggered by the vagus nerve. It is responsible for connecting the digestive tract to the brain and manage the flow of blood to the gut. There are instances in which the vagus nerve is too excited and draws out excess blood from the brain.
Those who are susceptible to fainting typically start at around 13 years old and persist for the rest of their lives. The fainting episodes usually follow a pattern. The individual starts to feel flushed and then followed by abrupt weakness and loss of consciousness. The individual turns limp and often breaks out in cold sweat.
Common causes of fainting
Poor amount of water in the bloodstream will lead to a drop in the blood pressure which stimulates the vagus nerve when the supply is already low, resulting to dizziness and fainting.
There are various causes of dehydration such as heat exhaustion, diarrhea, vomiting and even burns.
Not all cases of consciousness loss are linked to the vagus nerve. Shock is characterized by a drop in the blood pressure that often leads to loss of consciousness.
Always bear in mind that shock is a life-threatening emergency that is triggered by bleeding but can also occur due to anaphylaxis or a severe infection. Individuals experiencing shock are likely to become confused, then lose consciousness as the condition worsens. It can occur rapidly and although it is not fainting, most could not tell unless the individual wakes up.
Panic disorder, anxiety and stress can stimulate the vagus nerve in some individuals and result to loss of consciousness.
Alcohol or drugs
Many individuals lose consciousness due to alcohol consumption. Aside from its sedative effect, alcohol increases the frequency of urination which eventually leads to dehydration. It also dilates the blood vessels which lowers the blood pressure. The combination of these effects will drain the brain and result to fainting.
Even drugs, both legal and illegal can cause fainting due to various reasons. Some medications can lead to dehydration or an abrupt drop in the blood pressure.