Vasovagal syncope symptoms: Symptoms of the fainting disorder – are you at risk?

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Vasovagal syncope is caused by a sudden drop in your blood pressure as a result of a reaction to something. This causes your heart to slow down for a short time. As a result, your brain may not receive enough oxygen-rich blood which then causes you to pass out. has compiled a list of the symptoms, triggers and risk factors for vasovagal syncope.

Syncope is the medical term to describe a brief loss of consciousness, known as fainting.

Vasovagal syncope is when fainting is caused by certain triggers.

These triggers can include things like the sight of a needle or blood, or intense emotions such as fear or fright.

Vasovagal syncope, also known as neurocardiogenic or reflective syncope, can impact anyone, but tends to be more common in children and young adults.

Vasovagal syncope is triggered when your heart rate and blood pressure drops suddenly.

This leads to reduced blood flow to your brain causing you to briefly lose consciousness.

The condition is usually harmless and requires no treatment.

But it is possible to hurt yourself during a vasovagal syncope which means it is best to understand if you have the condition, so you can prepare for these episodes.

What are the symptoms of vasovagal syncope?

You may experience some of the following if you suffer with vasovagal syncope:

  • Pale skin
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tunnel vision
  • Nausea
  • Feeling warm
  • A cold and clammy sweat
  • Blurred vision.

Other people may notice the following during a vasovagal syncope episode: jerky movements, a slow or weak pulse or dilated pupils.

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What triggers a vasovagal syncope episode?

A fainting response often occurs in a number of situations such as during emotional circumstances, including medical or dental procedures.

When someone is in pain or during or after a meal if someone has not eaten for a while.

Another trigger for a fainting spell tends to be after a long period of standing still, such as in a queue or at a reception.

Fainting often happens in warm surroundings, after exercise or when you have not had enough rest.

During periods of illness, nausea or fever, fainting spells can also be common.

How to determine if you have vasovagal syncope?

A tilt test is often used to determine if someone has vasovagal syncope.

During this test, you have electrodes placed on your chest to monitor your heart rhythm and a blood pressure monitor on your arm and finger.

You must lie down flat on a bed for five minutes and the bed is then tilted upwards until you are almost vertical.

You are monitored in this position and if you faint or feel unwell, you will often be diagnosed as a patient of vasovagal syncope.

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