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- During medical procedures
- During times of high stress, trauma, or fright
- After standing still for a long period of time
- Orthostatic hypotension , low blood pressure when standing
- Hypoglycemia , which is low blood sugar
- Stroke or transient ischemic attack
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Heart conditions
- Blood loss
- Blood pressure medications
- Medications to regulate heart rhythms
- Certain antidepressants
- Sudden loss of consciousness
- Inability to remain standing or sitting
- Consciousness regained without any need for intervention
- Lightheadedness before losing consciousness
When Should I Call My Doctor?
- Have a heart condition
- Have a job where you or others may be at risk if you faint. Examples include airline pilot, bus driver, or machinist.
When Should I Call for Medical Help Immediately?
- Weakness or numbness of face, arm, or leg, especially on the left side of the body
- Loss of balance, coordination problems
- Vision problems
- Severe headache
- Rapid, irregular heartbeat; chest pain
- Rising slowly and carefully from lying down. Start by sitting up for a minute and then stand up.
- Drinking plenty of fluids.
- Discussing helpful dietary changes with your doctor. This may include eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
- Avoiding alcohol or other drugs.
- Crossing your legs while tensing the muscles of legs, abdomen, and buttocks.
- Forcefully squeezing a rubber ball or other object as hard as possible.
- Gripping one hand with the other while tensing both arms and raising the elbows slightly.
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
Alberta Health http://www.health.alberta.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Benditt D, Goldstein M. Fainting. American Heart Association, Circulation website. Available at: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/106/9/1048.full. Published 2002. Accessed January 8, 2015.
Chen LY, Benditt DG, et al. Management of syncope in adults: an update. Mayo Clin Proc. 2008;83(11):1280-1293.
Fainting. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/fainting.html. Updated March 2014. Accessed January 8, 2015.
Miller TH, Kruse JE. Evaluation of syncope. Am Fam Physician. 2005;72(8):1492-1500.
Syncope evaluation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 2, 2013. Accessed January 8, 2015.
2/6/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: van Dijk N, Quartieri F, Blanc JJ, et al. Effectiveness of physical counterpressure maneuvers in preventing vasovagal syncope: the Physical Counterpressure Manoeuvres Trial (PC-Trial). J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006;48(8):1652-1657.
4/1/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Choosing wisely. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 26, 2014. Accessed January 8, 2015.
3/24/2015 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills PB, Fung CK, et al. Nonpharmacologic management of orthostatic hypotension: A systematic review. Arch Phys Med Rehab. 2015;96(20:366-375.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 01/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/24/2015 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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