Fainting is a sudden loss of consciousness when there isn’t enough blood flow to the brain. The medical term for fainting is syncope. Fainting episodes are usually brief and the person regains consciousness quickly. A single fainting episode is usually harmless and does not mean you have a serious condition.
Fainting may indicate a more serious, possibly life-threatening condition if:
- Multiple episodes of fainting occur within a short time.
- Fainting occurs with exercise.
- Fainting occurs with heart palpitations or other heart problems.
- You have a family history of recurrent fainting, exercise fainting, or sudden death.
At Dignity Health, our emergency services providers offer reliable diagnosis and treatment for diseases and disorders that may cause fainting in Arizona.
If you are unsure of about your symptoms, call 9-1-1. If you need to go to the ER, use our InQuicker™ online tool by selecting your estimated hospital arrival time and wait at home until your time to be seen. Upon arrival and check-in, you will see a doctor who will assess your situation and determine the next appropriate level of care.
Symptoms That May Occur with Fainting
Any information you can give your doctor about fainting episodes will help your doctor make a diagnosis. It’s important to note any activities that occur before you faint. Do you faint after standing for a long time, exercising, or being in an emotionally charged situation?
Make note of your medications, especially if there have been changes in the drugs you take or the dosage.
Other symptoms that may occur along with or before fainting include:
- Seeing black around the edges of your eyes, or tunnel vision
- Sense of warmth
- Tingling in the lips or fingertips
Causes of Fainting
Fainting results from a temporary interruption of blood flow to the brain. There are many causes, but blood pressure that is too low is the most common cause. Other causes include:
- Dehydration, overheating, or exhaustion
- Emotional stress, including extreme fear
- Hyperventilation (rapid breathing)
- Low blood sugar
- Use of certain medications
- Prolonged standing
- Severe pain
- Sudden changes in posture, resulting in blood pooling in the legs
Serious causes of fainting include structural heart problems, arrhythmias, heart muscle disease, valve disease, and heart attack. Testing to find the cause may involve blood tests, EKGs (electrocardiogram)s, and exercise stress tests. Once you have a diagnosis, you and your doctor can plan your treatment. Dignity Health offers comprehensive emergency services, including expert care to diagnose the causes of fainting in Arizona.