Most of us have been there before or at least come close. That feeling of lightheadedness that washes over us and makes our legs feel like jelly and our head get all fuzzy. In some cases it leads to a temporary loss of consciousness which is commonly referred to as fainting or passing out, but medically it’s called syncope. While most of the time syncope is not due to anything serious, it happens when there is a slight decrease in blood supply to the brain due to things like low blood pressure or low blood sugar, but there are times when it can indicate there is a more serious underlying health problem.
Very Well Health explains that doctors typically divide the causes of syncope into two major categories: heart disease or non-cardiac causes. Luckily, a quick examination of medical history and a physical examination by a doctor should easily determine the cause of fainting and whether or not it was due to something more serious.
Here’s a look at some of the more serious health concerns that can cause fainting…
1. Obstructive Cardiac Disease
Most of the time fainting isn’t due to anything too serious, but Very Well Health points out that there is a 1 in 4 chance that it’s due to a cardiac cause. There are two common heart problems that cause fainting, the first is due to an obstruction of blood flow through the heart. “An obstruction to the blood flowing through the heart can cause a drop in the amount of blood the heart is pumping, thus robbing the brain of sufficient blood flow,” writes the source.
There are several heart disorders that can cause this to happen. For example, it could be due to a heart valve disease like aortic stenosis and mitral stenosis, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which reduces the flow of blood to the aortic valve. It could also be due to an obstruction in a major blood vessel near the heart or a cardiac tumor. Cardiologists note that in addition to previous episodes of fainting, patients also complained of heart palpitations and chest pain. Bringing these concerns to your doctor’s attention right away, may help identify the risk of underlying cardiovascular disease much earlier.