When Is Fainting a Concern that Requires Medical Attention


Feb 26, 2020


Tune into your favorite soap opera, and you’ll probably see someone faint at least once per episode. While the characters are doing it for dramatic effect, fainting off-camera can be extremely dangerous. For some people — with chronic conditions that cause them to faint or become unconscious — the problem feels like a normal every-day part of their life. But, some episodes of fainting require immediate medical attention.

Causes of Fainting

Fainting can happen to anyone, as it’s often caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure. This can occur when you stand up too quickly from a laying down or sitting position. It can also occur from overexcitement. Vasovagal syncope occurs when the part of your nervous system that controls your heart rate and blood pressure overreacts to an emotional trigger. Fortunately, these types of fainting episodes are usually rare and don’t really require treatment. But, in some cases, it can be a symptom of serious underlying conditions. The most common involve:

  • People with a prior history of a heart attack
  • People who have had heart surgery
  • People with heart disease or an irregular heart rhythm
  • People with abnormalities in their heart valve
  • People that experience seizures

Fainting Warning Signs

Before passing out, people that faint often experience warning signs that can make anticipating the episodes easier. This allows them to sit down or prevent injury but is usually only useful for those who have experienced fainting episodes before and know how to recognize the signs. The most common indicators are:

  • Heaviness in the legs
  • Blurred or tunnel vision
  • Confusion
  • Feeling warm or hot
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or a floating feeling
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Yawning
  • Becoming pale
  • A weak pulse

4 Signs Your Fainting Episode is a Serious Concern

If you faint often, you should schedule an evaluation with your doctor to determine the underlying cause. But, there are some situations that require more immediate attention. Your fainting spell may require an immediate emergency room visit if:

  • Fainting has caused you to hit your head or get hurt
  • Your family have a history of heart problems
  • Your family history involves members passing away at a young age
  • You have other medical problems

Diagnoses & Treatment

When seeking immediate medical attention after fainting, your doctor will first ask you about your family history. Then, they’ll inquire about the location and circumstances of your episode — did you just receive disturbing news, did you see blood, did you fall from a great distance? After researching the situation for when you fell, your doctor may conduct a few tests to determine if your fainting is a symptom of other conditions or a one-off occurrence.

Once the cause of your fainting has been determined, your doctor can begin creating a treatment plan. If your fainting occurs because of seizures, your treatment will depend on the type of seizure and whether or not your seizure is occurring because of infection. If your fainting is triggered by reactions, the best way to prevent fainting in the future is to avoid them — such as seeing blood or getting up too quickly. Your doctor will be able to talk through your options and help you weigh the risk and benefits of each choice.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one have a medical emergency, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Visit us online to find the Complete Care location nearest you.