Been passing out a lot lately?
Well you are not alone.
Syncope is a sudden loss of consciousness. There are many causes of syncope but the most common cause is vasovagal or neurocardiogenic syncope. This occurs to patients who have no structural heart disease and is rather a blood pressure regulation problem. Other causes of syncope include a sudden change of heart rhythm either fast or slow or other medical causes.
But I can’t have Syncope. I’m a young guy.
Actually SYNCOPE is very common in younger people but can affect people of all ages. and can happen to anyone. Most people who suffer from VASOVAGAL SYNCOPE have a perfectly normal heart. That is not to say however that all faints in apparently healthy people should be attributed to SYNCOPE, and it is important that other causes are ruled out initially. Not all syncope is benign. If you have regular fainting spells, definitely have them checked.
Although it seems that people faint for no reason, there are often specific triggers that cause SYNCOPE. It may be as simple as standing for a long time in a hot environment, or the sight or sensation of a needle (taking or giving blood). It is also not uncommon for emotional stress to trigger SYNCOPE, but there are also occasions where there still apparently seems to be no cause.
Often in syncope, the sufferer will experience prodromal (warning) symptoms such as nausea (feeling sick), sweating, light-headedness or going pale. These symptoms correlate with increased vagal tone (increased signal in the vagus nerve supplying the heart), which acts to momentarily slow the heart and/or dilate (widen) the blood vessels in the body, leading to a reduction in blood flow to the brain (cerebral perfusion). This in turn leads to a loss of consciousness as the brain becomes starved of oxygen.
On suffering syncope, the subject will then often fall to the floor. This then allows blood to reach the brain again as the effect of gravity is negated and results in a rapid regaining of consciousness. Rapid recovery is one of the hallmark features of SYNCOPE can help distinguish it from some more sinister causes.
Another cause of syncope can be an arrhythmia – a fast, slow or irregular heart beat. By not pumping blood effectively, there is a decrease in blood and oxygen supplied to the brain which can cause loss of consciousness. If we suspect that an arrhythmia may be the etiology of syncope we will recommend cardiac monitoring to help establish a diagnosis.
There are many causes for syncope and it essential to make an accurate diagnosis so that we can treat the underlying problem and prevent a recurrent episode of syncope. If you or anyone you know suffers from this problem please come see us so we can diagnose the problem, treat the underlying cause and prevent future episodes