When one passes out, it is usually unexpected. It can in fact be dangerous as one can fall down and hurt themselves or they can fall and hit something. One can also pass out at a dangerous spot such as a road where there is traffic. It is also unusual but sometimes the passing out may be intentional.
It is possible to induce a session of fainting which is scientifically known as syncope. Fainting is typically triggered by what is known as the vagus nerve. This is the nerve that links the brain and the digestive system and its function it to manage the flow of blood to the gut. Once food gets into the system, this nerve directs it blood to the stomach and the intestines. To be able to do this, it sources the blood from other body tissues and this includes the brain.
Sometimes, the vagus nerve can draw more blood from the brain than it should. This may be caused by a situation such as bearing down to have a bowel movement or vomiting. Illness and conditions that lower drop blood pressure make the vagus nerve more active than usual.
Passing out or fainting can be induced through interference with such functions of the body. Going without eating for a long time derives the body of nutrients which can cause it to shut down through fainting which is its way of conserving its limited energy. Long term dehydration can have the same effect. Lack of water in the bloodstream brings down blood pressure so that when the vagus nerve tries to direct blood to the stomach, one feels dizzy and may faint.
It is also possible for one to faint because of psychological triggers. Extreme anxiety, the sight of blood, a panic disorder and high stress levels can over-stimulate the vagus nerve and cause a fainting spell.
One may also faint because of factors that are not related to the vagus nerve. One such factor is shock. Hearing bad news or seeing something that causes a lot of distress can cause the body to shut down as a reflex action to protect itself from further distress.
Another way that one can induce a fainting spell is with taking too much alcohol. However, blacking out from drinking too much is not considered fainting although medically, it is. Besides dulling the senses and motor sensors, alcohol makes one keep urinating which leaves the body dehydrated. It also dilates the blood vessels which has the effect of lowering blood pressure. All these factors drain the brain and can cause the body to shut down in a fainting spell or as it more famously known, blacking out.
Taking an overdose of drugs, whether prescription medicine or the illegitimate kind, have the same effect. This is dangerous because fainting from such reasons can cause alcohol poisoning which can be fatal. Losing consciousness because of taking too much alcohol is a sign that one has consumed too much of it.
Heart problems can also cause a fainting spell which can be life threatening. The heart is the force that pumps blood and oxygen throughout the body. It is imperative that it functions without any problems for the right level of blood pressure to be maintained. A heart that beats too quickly or too slowly can push the pressure too high or make it lower than it should be. It can cause the blood to drain from the brain and cause fainting. When one suffers a heart attack, it is sometimes because the heart muscles are too weak to maintain blood pressure.
A person who suffers fainting spells often should get a check-up. It may be the sign of a more serious, underlying condition and this should be verified. Some people are prone to fainting. For them, it is a pattern. It starts with feeling flushed or too warm followed by a feeling of weakness after which the person faints.
When a person faints, what they need is fresh air. Take them to a well ventilated area and loosen their clothing so that they get as much of it as possible. If is from too much alcohol, what they need is water. However, do not give them any while they are unconscious because of the risk of choking.
If they do not come to after several minutes, it is advisable to seek professional medical help. They may have fainted for a serious condition that needs urgent medical attention which they may not be able to communicate while they are unconscious.
If you are alone and start feeling faint, tell someone. Ask them to take you outside and sit down for a while. Lie down if you need to. If there is medication that you normally use, take it and rest for a while. If you are feeling too warm, sip on a cold drink or apply an ice pack to your forehead to cool you down. This may avert a fainting spell. If this does not help and you still feel dizzy and unwell, do ask to be taken to a hospital or for an ambulance to be called for you.
Sometimes, frequent fainting spells may be a pointer that one needs to change their lifestyle. Poor eating habits and consumption of too much alcohol can trigger fainting spells because the body is not getting enough nutrients which deprive it of water and oxygen. Not eating well can also cause a condition known as anemia which is a result of not eating enough food.
Other lifestyle habits that may need to be checked are eating unhealthy foods and not exercising. Foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats increase blood cholesterol levels which prevent blood vessels from functioning as they should. This can lead to heart attacks and one of the symptoms that there is heart trouble is the tendency to pass out from time to time. It is important to review lifestyle habits which the intention of maintaining a wholesome, healthy way of life which would avert all manner of health problems.