Loss of consciousness

Loss of Consciousness

National Heart Clinic for Loss of Consciousness 2
Also known as fainting or syncope, can have several causes. It occurs when there is a temporary interruption of blood flow to the brain, resulting in a temporary loss of responsiveness and awareness. Common causes of loss of consciousness include:
National Heart Clinic for Loss of Consciousness 1
National Heart Clinic for Loss of Consciousness

Vasovagal syncope:

This is the most common cause and is often triggered by factors like emotional stress, pain, or standing up suddenly. It happens when the body overreacts to certain triggers, leading to a sudden drop in blood pressure and heart rate.

Cardiac-related causes:

Heart rhythm abnormalities, such as arrhythmias, can sometimes cause loss of consciousness. Conditions like heart attacks, heart valve problems, or structural abnormalities can also contribute.

Neurological causes:

Seizures, transient ischemic attacks (mini-strokes), or certain neurological disorders can result in loss of consciousness.

Medications or substances:

Some medications, especially those that lower blood pressure, can cause fainting. Similarly, alcohol or drug abuse can also lead to loss of consciousness.

Orthostatic hypotension:

When blood pressure drops suddenly upon standing up, it can cause a brief loss of consciousness.
Diagnosing the cause of loss of consciousness usually involves a thorough medical history, physical examination, and sometimes additional tests. These may include blood tests, electrocardiogram (ECG) to check heart function, echocardiogram, tilt-table testing, or brain imaging studies, depending on the suspected cause.


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