Fainting (Syncope) - Symptoms

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What are the signs and symptoms of fainting (syncope)?

With fainting (syncope), the patient is unaware that they have passed out and fallen to the ground. It is only afterward that they understand what has happened.

There may be symptoms or signs before the syncopal episode, which may include:

  • The person may feel lightheaded, nauseated, sweaty, or weak. There may be a feeling of dizziness or vertigo (with the room spinning), vision may fade or blur, and there may be muffled hearing and tingling sensations in the body.
  • With pre-syncope or a near-faint, the same symptoms will occur, but the person doesn't quite lose consciousness.

During the episode, when the person is unconscious, there may a few twitches of the body which may be confused with seizure activity.

The person may have some confusion after wakening but it should resolve within a few seconds.

After a syncopal episode, there should be a quick return to normal mental function, though there may be other signs and symptoms depending upon the underlying cause of the faint. For example, if the individual is in the midst of a heart attack, he or she may complain of chest pain or pressure.

Return to Fainting (Syncope)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Donna, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

I have been having near-fainting spells for the last couple of weeks. I always know when it is starting. It"s after I have eaten something. About half hour or so I start getting cramps and will have to go to the bathroom. I start sweating and my heart starts to beat slower and slower. I also get very weak and shaky. That is when I know I"m about to faint. Things start getting black but I am usually near a chair or something to hang on too. I do have high blood pressure and am on medications for that. These symptoms of fainting are new to me. I have not seen a doctor for this yet.

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Comment from: shammer, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 30

I would experience a few seconds of light-headedness, then darkness would begin to close in on my peripheral vision. I had 3 blackouts in a period of 16 months and many, many of the experiences just described. I went through tons of tests but all were negative until I wore a heart monitor geared to last up to 4 weeks. I had an episode of light-headedness and it was determined I had a heart block causing my heart to skip beats. I had a pacemaker installed. I"ve always been a healthy person and I"m not happy about this. I"m 73 next month.

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