There are several types of syncope and each possesses its own cause. While some cases of fainting cannot be explained, passing out is usually the result of one of the following:
When you feel dizzy or faint it’s important to either sit or lie down until the feeling subsides, as passing out while standing can lead to injury.
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded may be benign, due to an underlying medical condition, or a result of cardiovascular disease. Fainting or passing out, called syncope, or the feeling you may pass out, may also have a cardiac cause which an evaluation can determine.
Causes & Risk Factors
Cardiac syncope - Roughly 15% of all fainting episodes are from cardiac syncope, a situation where your heart doesn’t deliver enough blood to your brain. Both electrical and structural problems within your cardiovascular system can cause this type of issue.
Cerebrovascular syncope - When the blood vessels in and near your brain aren’t functioning correctly, your brain can become deprived of blood and cause you to pass out. This can occur due to injury or certain health conditions.
Vasovagal syncope - The most common type of passing out, reflex syncope is often benign and can happen when your body overreacts to certain triggers. Experiencing distress, intense pain, or even coughing and laughing may be the cause.
Orthostatic syncope - If you’ve ever felt lightheaded when you stand up after sitting or laying down, you’ve experienced orthostatic syncope. Certain medications, dehydration, or alcohol use can cause this to happen.
In general, the risk factors for syncope include advanced age, family history of cardiovascular issues, and the presence of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease.
Treatment & Prevention
Using a variety of tests including an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, carotid ultrasound, stress test, and heart monitors the team at Manhattan Cardiovascular Associates can determine the cause of your syncope and develop a treatment plan that addresses its specific cause.