March 17, 2011

Vasovagal Syncope Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Posted in Category : General Health

What is Vasovagal syncope?

Being an unfamiliar term, many people will often question, what is vasovagal syncope? Syncope is medical term which is used for a blackout or a fainting spell, which occurs due to the deficiency in the supply of blood to the brain. Vasovagal syncope can be described as a fainting spell, which is brought on by a rather sudden drop in a person’s blood pressure or heartbeat rate, which in turn interferes with the flow of blood to the brain. This problem could occur when a person’s body reacts to certain triggers, such as extreme emotional distress or even the sight of blood. Not only is this condition quite common, it is also fairly harmless on its own. However, several people have been known to injure themselves severely during a bout of vasovagal syncope. This is why people who are prone to fainting due to such factors may be advised to undergo vasovagal syncope symptoms treatment.

What are the causes?

Vasovagal syncope is caused when a part of the nervous system malfunctions in response to certain factors or situations. This could cause the heart rate to slow down and at the same time, the blood vessels in the legs get wider. Hence, the blood rushes to the legs, which reduces the blood pressure in the body. The flow of blood to the brain reduces drastically due to this, thereby causing the person to faint. There is no particular age at which a person can suffer from the vasovagal syncope symptoms; however, this condition is a lot more common in the elderly, as compared to younger people. In fact, vasovagal syncope is usually regarded as one of the signs of aging. Given below are some of the most common causes of vasovagal syncope that could affect a person:

  • Straining to have a bowel movement at times
  • Withdrawing blood from the body, for any reason
  • Excessive exposure to heat
  • Intense fear of any kind
  • Looking at blood (own or another person’s)
  • Staying on the feet for a long period of time

What are the common symptoms?

There are several signs and symptoms that may be seen in a person, just before a fainting spell. Given below are some of the most common vasovagal syncope symptoms:

  • Skin turning pale
  • Nausea or sickness
  • Experiencing the sensation of lightheadedness
  • Feeling warm
  • Constriction of vision, which is also known as tunnel vision
  • Breaking out into a cold and clammy sweat

Though rare, it is possible for people to experience vasovagal syncope symptoms as a result of serious health conditions, such as brain or heart disorders. Hence, it is important for all people to consult a doctor as soon as they experience a fainting spell.

What is the cure?

Most people do not need to undergo any type of treatment for vasovagal syncope. However, it is important for a doctor to identify what the possible triggers of this condition can be, so that they can be strictly avoided as prevention is the best cure for vasovagal syncope. However, there are some people who need to go through treatment for vasovagal syncope, especially if the quality of their life has been affected in any way. The treatment for this condition mainly includes:

  • Medicines such as blood pressure drugs, antidepressants and blood vessel constrictors
  • Certain types of therapy to prevent the blood from pooling at the legs
  • Surgery or the insertion of an electrical pacemaker, to regulate heartbeat

There are certain lifestyle changes that can also be quite useful when it comes to treating vasovagal syncope, such as:

  • Practicing certain foot exercises, preferably as prescribed by a doctor
  • Wearing elastic stockings
  • Increasing the consumption of salt (only for those who aren’t suffering from high blood pressure)
  • Drinking a lot of water