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Near-Fainting:Uncertain Cause

Fainting (syncope) is a temporary loss of consciousness ("passing out"). It occurs when blood flow to the brain is reduced. Near-fainting ("near-syncope") is like fainting, but you do not fully "pass out."

The common minor causes of near fainting include sudden fear, pain, emotional stress, overexertion, or quickly standing up after sitting or lying for a long time.

The more serious causes for near fainting are due to either a very slow or very fast heart beat, dehydration, anemia, blood loss, problems related to the heart, or taking too much high blood pressure medicine.

The exact cause of your episode is not certain. More tests may be required. Therefore, it is important that you follow up with your doctor as advised.

Home care

  • Rest today. Resume your normal activities as soon as you are feeling back to normal.

  • If you become light-headed or dizzy, lie down right away or sit with your head between your knees.

  • Because we do not know the exact cause of your near fainting spell, another spell could occur without warning. Therefore, do not drive a car or use dangerous equipment. Do not take a bath alone (use a shower instead). Do not swim alone. You can resume these activities when your doctor says that you are no longer in danger of having a near fainting spell.

  • Stay well hydrated by drinking enough fluid each day.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your doctor as instructed.

When to seek medical advice

Call your health care provider right away if any of the following occur:

  • Another fainting spell occurs, and it is not explained by the common causes listed above

  • Chest, arm, neck, jaw, back or abdominal pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Weakness, tingling or numbness in one side of the face, one arm or leg

  • Slurred speech, confusion, trouble walking or seeing

  • Seizure

  • Blood in vomit, stools (black or red color)

  • (In women) unexpected vaginal bleeding


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