Syncope

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Syncope is also called fainting or passing out. Syncope is a sudden, temporary loss of consciousness, followed by a fall from a standing or sitting position.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Medicines:

If you are given medicine, take it as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Prevent and manage syncope:

  • Change body positions slowly: Sudden movements may cause a fainting spell. Move slowly and let yourself get used to one position before you move to another position. This is very important when you change from a lying or sitting position to a standing position. Take some deep breaths before you stand up from a lying down position. If you must sit or stand in one position for a long time, move your legs often. Do not lock your knees or cross your legs. If you feel faint or dizzy, sit or lie down right away. Put your feet up higher than your head. This will get the blood flowing back to your heart and brain.

  • Diet: You may need to drink more liquids to prevent dehydration. Ask your primary healthcare provider if you should increase your salt intake to keep your blood pressure from dropping too low. Avoid straining if you are constipated. Straining to have a bowel movement may cause you to faint. Walking is the best way to get your bowels moving. Eat foods high in fiber to make it easier to have a bowel movement. Good examples are high-fiber cereals, beans, vegetables, and whole-grain breads. Prune juice may help make bowel movements softer.

  • Tilt training: This is training yourself to stand for 10 to 30 minutes each day against a wall. This helps your body adjust to posture changes and reduces the number of fainting spells.

  • Do not drive a car or use heavy machinery if you feel faint.

  • Do not exercise outside during the heat of the day.

  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace if you have a heart problem that causes fainting spells.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have another fainting spell.

  • You have a headache, fast heartbeat, or feel too dizzy to stand up.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You are bleeding because you accidently hit your head after fainting.

  • You suddenly have double vision, difficulty speaking, numbness, and cannot move your arms or legs.

  • You have chest pain and trouble breathing.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Syncope (Aftercare Instructions)

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