About the disease
Syncope is primarily short loss of consciousness, most commonly known as fainting. Syncope usually lasts for a very short period of time during which a person loses muscle strength and memory. After spontaneous recovery which can occur several second or minutes after fainting, a person does not remember what was happening when he/she lost consciousness. Most often syncope happens when there is decreased blood flow to the brain. Usually it can be attributed to low blood pressure or great emotional distress. Syncope can occur suddenly or a person may have prodromal symptoms several minutes before fainting. Prodromal symptoms include sleepiness, lethargy, lightheadedness, and dizziness. Person may also feel nausea and vertigo which are rare indicators of syncope.
Having episodes of syncope does not necessarily mean that a person has serious heart or blood vessel problems. Nonetheless, it can be the first indicator of more serious conditions, that`s why people who had syncope even once, need to undergo various tests to determine underlying cause.
In some cases, syncope can be a reaction to pain and emotional distress. Then, syncope is only the way of a brain to deal with something it can not tolerate. In such case a person is often recommended to undergo sessions with psychologist or to restrict as much as possible contact with factors or fears that cause syncope. Only 10% of all cases of syncope indicate serious heart problems.
- Pale skin
- Muscle twitching
- Feeling of heat or cold
- Incontinence in some cases
- ECG is the first diagnostic measure used for determining if a person has heart problem, which caused fainting. ECG determines if a person has low blood pressure or hypertension. It also shows if a person has abnormal heart rhythm.
- Holter monitoring is also commonly used to monitor heart for a period of 24 hours and determine if a person has any heart rhythm anomalies.
- Blood test rules out other causes for fainting, such as infection, for instance.
- If syncope was caused by heart problems, doctors primarily treat these problems to avoid fainting in future. Special drugs may be prescribed for normalizing the blood pressure. If it is too slow, a person may also need implantation of cardiodefibrillator to balance the heart rhythm and always supply needed amount of blood to the brain.
- If syncope is caused by phobia or by emotional distress, psychological counselling is also needed. In some cases, antidepressants are prescribed.