Dizziness and fainting are signs of life-threatening diseases

Dizziness and fainting are signs of life-threatening diseases

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Fainting should never be taken lightly

Even if a brief loss of consciousness can be harmless, it can also be a symptom of life-threatening diseases. If there are known or unknown heart diseases, the risk of sudden cardiac death is significantly increased. Therefore, short fainting spells or falls with unclear causes should always be examined by a doctor, warns the German Heart Foundation.

"You should definitely mention during the clarification, for example, whether you sensed indications of cardiac arrhythmia shortly before passing out," advises Professor Dr. med. Wolfgang von Scheidt, member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Heart Foundation and cardiologist at the Augsburg Clinic, in a press release from the foundation. Stumbling, palpitations, rapid heartbeat or even a significantly slower pulse can indicate cardiovascular diseases.

Sudden fainting due to irregular heartbeat

As the specialist reports, fainting due to cardiac arrhythmias usually occurs suddenly and without harbingers. On the other hand, harbingers of dizziness, lightheadedness or a feeling of weakness would often show up for other causes. Such harbingers should always be discussed with a doctor, who can show you how to behave in such situations to prevent fainting and the eventual fall, according to von Scheidt.

What does the doctor want to know?

According to the cardiology professor, information on the course of the fainting attack is important clues for the underlying cause. For example, it is important to know whether the loss of consciousness occurred during physical exertion, such as climbing stairs or doing sports. Furthermore, information about psychological influences such as stress or excitement and also sexual activities are important to determine the reason. The doctor must also be informed whether and which medication is being taken, because some medicines for high blood pressure could cause dizziness or brief loss of consciousness. "Information on previous illnesses and on the duration and course of the loss of consciousness also help the doctor in the search for the diagnosis," said the expert.

Recognize heralds

If fainting suddenly occurs out of nowhere, this should be reported to the doctor. For many causes, however, unconsciousness announces itself beforehand. According to the heart experts, many forms of fainting can be prevented if you correctly interpret the heralds. These include:

  • Nausea,
  • heavy sweating,
  • Dizziness,
  • Drowsiness,
  • Feeling weak,
  • Malaise,
  • blurred vision or flickering eyes.

Unpleasant information can also be important

In order to prevent a wrong diagnosis, the experts of the German Heart Foundation believe it is important to provide embarrassing or unpleasant details in connection with the fainting. For example, the fainting attack took place

  • in a violent argument?
  • when urinating?
  • with sexual activity?
  • at the sight of a spider?
  • during a pop concert?

Medicinal influences

Fainting can also occur when taking certain medications. For example, if fainting started when you got up from lying or sitting, high-dose hypertension medication could be the cause. Since there can also be interactions with several medications, it makes sense to inform the doctor about all medications taken, including those that are available without a prescription, according to the expert advice. (vb)

Author and source information

Video: Dizziness and Balance Testing - Mayo Clinic (May 2022).