Fainting, medically termed as Syncope generally happens when the amount of blood flow to the brain drops all of a sudden, and it can be caused due to several reasons.
However, it can be prevented by following some tips and methods. Read below to known how can you prevent fainting.
Fainting: An Overview
Fainting is when a person loses consciousness or “passes out” for a short time, maybe 20 seconds to 60 seconds. Syncope is the medical term of fainting or a temporary loss of consciousness because of the sudden decline of blood flow to your brain.(1) When you suffer from fainting you might also experience symptoms of dizziness, cold and clammy skin, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, changes in vision, and so on. You might drop to the floor as you lose consciousness when you suffer from fainting.
Fainting can be caused due to various reasons, some of them include a sudden fall in the blood pressure or the number of heartbeats, standing in the hot sun for a long time, taking certain medications, not eating well or being dehydrated. Sometimes fainting might also be triggered in a crowded space or when you sit or stand too quickly. Anxiety could also be one cause for fainting. Some people faint when they have to get a shot or when they see blood (though it is rare).
8 Ways to Prevent Fainting
Eat Healthy and Regular Meals and Drink Plenty Of Water:
Many times people get fainted because of starving or dehydration. So it is always essential for you to eat your healthy and regular meals. Do not skip meals. In case you feel hungry in between your meals, you can eat any healthy snack.
Apart from your diet, it is also important for you to drink plenty of water regularly
Avoid Exerting In Hot Weather:
As mentioned earlier, some people might faint when they are outside in the sun for a long time. So, if you generally faint then do avoid exerting in hot weather as much as you can. If you have to go outside in the sun, try to carry an umbrella and enough water with you.
Keep Moving Your Legs if You Have To Stand For Long:
In case you are required to stand in one place for a longer time, ensure that you move your legs and do not lock your knees. Try to shake your legs out if possible.
Manage Your Anxiety:
Some people suffer from anxiety that might make them feel faint or get fainted. In case you are prone to anxiety, find some coping strategy that works for you. Try out regular exercises, meditation, yoga, talk therapy, and several other relaxation techniques that would help you with anxiety.
In case you have sudden anxiety anywhere and feel like you might faint, take deep breathes, and count slowly from 1 to 10 to try to calm yourself down.
Moreover, you might also require learning to control your breathing so that you do not breathe too quickly and hyperventilate while you are feeling anxious.
Get Up From Bed Gradually:
You might suffer from fainting while you get up from bed too quickly or all of a sudden. So, you need to get up very gradually from your lying position. Moreover, it is also important to carpet the area around your bed and keep the space free of objects that could be hit during a fall if you get fainted by any chance.
Take Your Prescribed Medications Regularly:
You need to take your medications as prescribed, especially if you have cardiovascular issues or diabetes. In case you feel dizzy or lightheadedness because of your medicines, do talk to your doctor about it and look for an alternative that might have no such side effects.
Try Applied Tension Technique:
The Applied Tension techniques is a strategy that is developed to help prevent fainting or to aid people to recover quickly if they faint. This technique involves tensing the muscles in your body that would raise your blood pressure and if your blood pressure increases, chances are you are less likely to faint.
For doing this, you need to first sit comfortably on a chair and tense the muscles in your legs, arms, and trunk for at least 10-15 seconds. Make sure that you hold the tension until you start feeling a warm sensation in the head. Now, relax the body for 30 seconds and repeat the same 5 times with relaxation.
You need to practice this strategy several times a day for at least one week.
Such a technique is helpful for people who faint seeing blood or while getting a shot. You also need to know that if you are getting a shot or donating blood, make sure that you eat a meal and drink plenty of water a few hours beforehand. You also need to lie down while getting the shot.
Take Advantage Of Tilt Training:
You can talk to your doctor about the tilt training and take the best advantage out of it if you suffer from frequent fainting or syncope.
According to research presented at EHRA 2019, a European Society of cardiology or ESC congress, it is suggested that Tilt training prevents fainting quite effectively. This program is also known to improve your quality of life, reduce the fear and worry about future fainting and also enables patients to return to their work.
Fainting is generally caused by either a fall in your blood pressure or the number of heartbeats. Standing in hot, crowded space, and sitting or getting up quickly are some triggers of fainting. Some people do not show any warning and medicines do not help them.
A tilt training program was designed to retrain the ANS or the autonomic nervous system( which is known to control heart rate and blood pressure) to respond correctly to moving to an upright position.
In the study, 102 patients had fainted at least twice in the past 6 months or fainted at least once and had 3 presyncope episodes in the last year of the study.
Now let us take a look at the study in brief.
The response of both the Autonomic nervous system and the cardiovascular system has improved; for example, the blood pressure did not drop when moving upright and cardiac output was also normalized. However, more importantly, an average of 5.5 years after the Tilt training program, about 86% of patients did not faint again. In rest 14% of the patients, average numbers of yearly faints and presyncope episodes(feeling faint) significantly fell by more than half, from 5 faints to less than 2, and from more than 11 presyncope episodes to less than 5 episodes.
It showed that tilt training was significantly associated with less fainting, and worry. Patients were able to live normal lives after the tilt training program and many of them went back to their work.
Now, tilt training is something that is usually offered to patients suffering from malignant or recurrent Vasovagal Syncope or VVS which impairs their life quality and carried a risk of falls and injury in the patients.(3)
When To Seek Medical Attention?
If you are having good health and faint once any day then you probably do not need to have to visit your doctor. However, there are some cases where you should surely follow up with your medical professional and seek necessary medical help.
Talk to your doctor if you have fainted more than once in recent times or if you feel like fainting, talk to the doctor if you are pregnant and feel like fainting too often in your pregnancy, seek medical attention if you are having a known heart condition, also talk to your doctor if you suffer from some other unusual symptoms along with fainting.
In case a person has a fast heartbeat, severe chest pain, chest tightness or shortness of breath, confusion, and trouble talking while fainting, you need to take the person for emergency medical care.
The doctor will examine your symptoms, ask some questions, take a check on the patient’s blood pressure, and might do an electrocardiogram. Depending on these test results, your doctor might prescribe you for some other tests such as blood tests, having an echocardiogram, MRI, or CT scan of the head, and wearing a heart monitor.
With a proper diagnosis, your condition could be treated in an absolute way.
Fainting could be because of many underlying medical conditions. However, if you do not have any health issue then fainting is usually not a thing to worry about. However, if you faint too often, or if you are pregnant or have heart issues and are suffering from fainting, then you should follow up with your healthcare provider.
In case you are finding yourself feeling faint then do take the necessary preventive steps to prevent fainting.