What is syncope?
Fainting—also called syncope—occurs when the brain experiences a sudden decrease in blood or oxygen levels (or both) due to a drop in blood pressure and heart rate. Thirty-five percent of people will have at least one fainting episode in their lifetime, either due to abnormal heart rhythms, overheating, or other causes, according to Julian Stewart, MD, professor of pediatric cardiology at New York Medical College. And feeling faint can happen to both children and adults. Know these symptoms of fainting and take the proper precautions to avoid injury and ensure that a one-time fainting spell doesn’t turn into a true medical emergency. Learn more about the reasons healthy people faint, and how to treat them.
You feel lightheaded or dizzy
If you’ve ever stood up a little too fast and felt your head spin for a moment, you have experienced a slight version of syncope. “When you’re lying down, blood is uniformly distributed, and when you stand up, blood rapidly falls due to gravity,” says Dr. Stewart. As blood moves away from your brain when you stand, your blood pressure drops, and you begin feeling faint. If you often experience lightheadedness when getting to your feet, Dr. Stewart recommends squeezing the muscles in your lower body, such as your thigh, calf, and glutes, before you stand. This will pump blood back to the upper half of your body, preventing the quick drop in blood pressure once you’re upright. Check out some more simple home remedies for dizziness.