Healthy Living

Health Reasons That Can Make a Person Pass Out

10 Common Health Reasons for Fainting

Causes of Fainting

A person faints or loses consciousness for a brief time when the brain does not get enough oxygen. Fainting or passing out is also medically called syncope. Before fainting, people may experience lightheadedness, dizziness, weakness, and nausea. Others describe fainting as blacking out or feeling like sounds are fading away. If a person has no underlying medical condition, a full recovery often takes just a few minutes without any treatment or medical intervention. 

However, fainting can sometimes be a symptom of a serious health problem. Speak with a doctor if you have fainted twice a month or more and without a previous history of fainting. 

Below are some of the common causes of fainting:

1. Dehydration

When there is a significant reduction of fluids in a person's body, he or she can become dehydrated. The symptoms of dehydration may vary from one person to another. However, fainting can occur when a person is severely dehydrated. Before fainting, dizziness, lightheadedness, less urination, and headache can be experienced. 

Dehydration can lower a person's blood pressure, and when dehydration is prolonged, the body will have a difficult time to stabilize the blood pressure. The risk of passing out increases as blood pressure continues to drop. People who are dehydrated have an increased risk of fainting, especially when they stand up too quickly. 

Dehydration can be prevented by drinking enough water daily. However, dehydration can also be due to other illnesses, such as the flu, alcoholism, or diabetes. If you drink a lot of water but regularly have fainting episodes, it could indicate a more serious health problem. 

2. Coughing

Although coughing does not always cause fainting, sudden periods of coughing can cause rapid changes in the blood pressure that can lead to fainting. If you experience a coughing fit and start to feel dizzy or lightheaded, try to sit down to avoid any kind of injury if you faint. People with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, have an increased risk of passing out during cough attacks due to changes in the blood pressure. Consult a doctor if you frequently cough for no reason. 

3. Cardiovascular Conditions

Many cardiovascular conditions are quite serious, particularly if you have a family history of heart disease. Cardiovascular syncope can happen when a person has a heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia). Seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:

These symptoms may indicate an underlying condition, which requires treatment and strict monitoring. In severe cases, fainting due to arrhythmia can precede a sudden cardiac arrest

4. Medications

All medications come with a certain degree of side effects. However, these side effects may go unnoticed in many people. Some of these side effects are too mild and do not cause much trouble, while some may cause serious side effects. There are also medications that can cause vision problems, vomiting, bleeding, severe dizziness, and fainting. 

The medications that may cause fainting are those that are taken for the treatment of high blood pressure, allergies, and depression. These medications can cause a drop in a person's blood pressure, which then leads to fainting. 

5. Hunger

Fainting can happen due to hunger, but before that, other symptoms also occur. Before fainting, many people often reported the following symptoms:

The body needs food for energy, and not eating enough can make you hungry along with having a drop in your blood sugar level. If you stay hungry for a long time, you will feel lightheaded, which can lead to fainting. Fainting that is associated with hunger can be prevented by regularly consuming a balanced diet. 

6. Diarrhea

Diarrhea can be due to a number of things, such as stress, medications, viruses, bacteria, foods, and certain medical conditions. Diarrhea is a common condition and is not always a cause for concern. However, when diarrhea causes other problems, such as dehydration, fainting could happen. 

Diarrhea can make the body dehydrated, so it is very important to drink lots of water to avoid experiencing other symptoms. Having diarrhea without proper hydration could lead to fainting. Seek medical help if you regularly experience diarrhea. 

7. Panic and Anxiety Attacks

A person's breathing becomes disrupted during a panic or an anxiety attack. Some may even hyperventilate, have an increased heart rate, or a drop in their blood pressure. These symptoms can lead a person to feel faint. If they cannot get their panic attack or breathing under control, they may faint. It is quite important to know what to do during panic attacks and episodes of anxiousness to prevent feeling lightheaded or dizzy, which may lead to fainting. 

Breathing techniques can be performed to help slow down a person's breathing and prevent panic or anxiety attacks. Try focusing on taking deep breaths until you feel better. 

8. Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is associated with high blood sugar levels. To effectively manage diabetes, medications and lifestyle changes are often required. Those who have type 1 diabetes need lifelong insulin injections along with consuming a specific diet to effectively manage the disease. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is more common than type 1 diabetes, and can be managed by proper diet, exercise, and regular blood sugar monitoring. 

Even though type 2 diabetes is more common, both types of diabetes can cause fainting. The risk of fainting increases when people with diabetes don't eat enough or stand up too quickly. Fainting can also occur when they take too much insulin, which causes a drop in their blood sugar level. Having a high blood sugar level can also cause fainting as well. 

9. Anemia

Anemia develops when the blood does not have sufficient red blood cells (RBCs) or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the main part of RBCs that binds to oxygen. The cells in the body will not get enough oxygen if a person has abnormal RBCs, too few RBCs, or when the hemoglobin is low or abnormal. 

One of the common symptoms of anemia is fainting. When the body does not have the required amount of healthy RBCs to carry oxygen to the tissues, people tend to frequently feel weak and tired. The symptoms also get worse if a person's anemia gets worse. 

10. Seizures

Fainting can sometimes be described by symptoms that are similar to seizures, such as physical collapse, shaking, muscle twitching, and confusion. However, these two conditions are not the same. 

Seizures are mainly caused by a disturbance in the brain's normal electrical functions, while fainting is due to a blood flow reduction to the brain. Fainting can sometimes accompany a seizure and a seizure can sometimes be accompanied by episodes of fainting. 

Key Takeaways

  • A person faints or loses consciousness for a brief time when the brain does not get enough oxygen. 
  • Before fainting, people may experience lightheadedness, dizziness, weakness, and nausea. Others describe fainting as blacking out or feeling like sounds are fading away. 
  • Fainting can also be a symptom of a serious health problem.