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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Near syncope, also called presyncope, is the feeling that you may faint (lose consciousness), but you do not. You can control some health conditions that cause near syncope. Your healthcare providers can help you create a plan to manage near syncope and prevent episodes.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have sudden chest pain.
- You have trouble breathing or shortness of breath.
- You have vision changes, are sweating, and have nausea while you are sitting or lying down.
- You feel dizzy or flushed and your heart is fluttering.
- You lose consciousness.
- You cannot use your arm, hand, foot, or leg, or it feels weak.
- You have trouble speaking or understanding others when they speak.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have new or worsening symptoms.
- Your heart beats faster or slower than usual.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines may be needed to help your heart pump strongly and regularly. Your healthcare provider may also make changes to any medicines that are causing syncope.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
You may need more tests to help find the cause of your near syncope episodes. The tests will help healthcare providers plan the best treatment for you. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Manage near syncope:
- Sit or lie down when needed. This includes when you feel dizzy, your throat is getting tight, and your vision changes. Raise your legs above the level of your heart.
- Take slow, deep breaths if you start to breathe faster with anxiety or fear. This can help decrease dizziness and the feeling that you might faint.
- Keep a record of your near syncope episodes. Include your symptoms and your activity before and after the episode. The record can help your healthcare provider find the cause of your near syncope and help you manage episodes.
Prevent a near syncope episode:
- 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 position. Stand up slowly. Sudden movements may cause a fainting spell. Sit on the side of the bed or couch for a few minutes before you stand up. If you are on bedrest, try to be upright for about 2 hours each day, or as directed. Do not lock your legs if you are standing for a long period of time. Move your legs and bend your knees to keep blood flowing.
- Follow your healthcare provider's recommendations. Your provider may recommend that you drink more liquids to prevent dehydration. You may also need to have more salt to keep your blood pressure from dropping too low and causing syncope. Your provider will tell you how much liquid and sodium to have each day. He or she will also tell you how much physical activity is safe for you. This will depend on what is causing your near syncope.
- Watch for signs of low blood sugar. These include hunger, nervousness, sweating, and fast or fluttery heartbeats. Talk with your healthcare provider about ways to keep your blood sugar level steady.
- Check your blood pressure often. This is important if you take medicine to lower your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure when you are lying down and when you are standing. Ask how often to check during the day. Keep a record of your blood pressure numbers. Your healthcare provider may use the record to help plan your treatment.
- Do not strain if you are constipated. You may faint if you strain to have a bowel movement. 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.
- Do not exercise outside on a hot day. The combination of physical activity and heat can lead to dehydration. This can cause syncope.
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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.