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Find Expert Help for Syncope


Syncope is a sudden loss of consciousness or fainting. It occurs when there isn’t enough blood flow to the brain to maintain consciousness. Episodes of syncope are usually short and consciousness returns quickly. Usually, the real danger of syncope is the possibility of injuring yourself when you pass out.

If you’re experiencing syncope episodes in the Bay Area, Dignity Health is here to help — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you need to go to the ER, try our Online Waiting Room to select your estimated arrival time at one of our Bay Area emergency rooms.

Syncope Symptoms Treated by Dignity Health in the Bay Area

To diagnose syncope, your doctor needs to know what happened right before you fainted. This may include things such as being in an emotionally charged situation, exercising, or standing for a long time. Make sure you tell your doctor about any medications you are taking, especially if they are recent additions or if there have been changes in dosage.

Other symptoms that may occur before or along with syncope include: 

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Seeing black around the edges of vision, or tunnel vision
  • Sense of warmth
  • Sweating
  • Tingling in the lips or fingertips
Syncope may signal a more serious, possibly life-threatening condition if:
  • Heart palpitations or other heart conditions happen at the same time.
  • It occurs with exercise.
  • Several episodes occur within a short time.
  • You have a family history of exercise syncope, recurrent syncope, or sudden death.

Why Did I Faint?

Syncope happens because the blood flow to the brain is temporary interrupted. Low blood pressure is the most common cause.

Other causes of syncope include:

  • Anemia
  • Dehydration
  • Emotional stress, including extreme fear
  • Exhaustion
  • Hyperventilation
  • Low blood sugar
  • Medications
  • Overheating
  • Prolonged standing
  • Severe pain
  • Sudden changes in posture that cause blood to pool in the legs

More serious causes of syncope include: 

To determine the specific cause of your syncope, you Dignity Health doctor may order tests, including exercise stress tests, blood tests, and electrocardiograms (EKGs). We’ll help you find the cause of your fainting, then treat the cause with personal care.

Dignity Health offers diagnosis and treatment of syncope in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.