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Symptoms of Fainting

By Paul Rothbart


Fainting can be dramatic-looking. In fact, it is used as a device in films, television, and plays frequently. In real life, it's simply the body's reaction to blood being drawn away from the brain and toward the legs. The person becomes temporarily unconscious and the body falls forward to let gravity move blood back to the brain. 


There are a number of things that can cause fainting. Being in a space that is too hot and has insufficient ventilation can dilate the blood vessels and cause blood to move to the legs. It can also happen due to extreme emotions such as fear, shock, or excessive stress. A fainting spell is usually not serious, but if it happens frequently, you should see a doctor. There are symptoms that can indicate you may be about to faint. Recognizing them can allow you to sit or stand before it happens.

Feeling Dizzy

A fainting spell is often preceded by a feeling of dizziness. The room may seem to be spinning and you may feel unsteady on your feet and experience vertigo. Often the person feels disoriented. Upon feeling dizzy, you should immediately sit, or if you can, lie down and elevate your feet to get the blood back to your head.

Face Loses Color

When blood moves out of the head, it has several effects. Fainting is one, but a face with a less than normal amount of blood will lose color. People may appear pale. This is something that another person may notice and inform you about. Heed the warning and get off your feet.

Feeling Nauseous

Fainting is often accompanied by feeling nauseous. This is not the same as feeling the urge to vomit. The body's vagal system often activates, causing feelings of nausea when fainting is imminent. This is another time it's a good idea to lie down.

Feeling Anxious

Anxiety is a common emotion experienced by millions of people every day. Extreme worry or fear can cause a level of anxiety that may cause a person to pass out. This is common for people in a hospital who don't like the sight of blood or who have just witnessed a traumatic accident. If you feel anxious and are experiencing any other symptoms, you may be about to faint and should take the necessary precautions.

Fainting is not unusual and is not dangerous the majority of the time. It is good to know the symptoms so that you can lie and avoid fainting and possible injury in a fall. If you faint frequently, it is best to see a doctor to determine the cause.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Grand Prairie, Tex.

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