Tag Archives: anemia

Straight, No Chaser: When Fainting is Deadly

fainting

1. So can faints be deadly?

Potentially. There are three separate sets of considerations. The brain can’t survive very long without adequate oxygen. Whatever caused that faint, if it continues to deny oxygen to the brain, can lead to seizures, strokes and death. The process that caused the faint could be deadly in and of itself. Such things would include heart attacks, strokes, seizures due to bleeding inside the brain. Significant injuries may occur after the faint. Someone who falls may subsequently suffer a head or neck injury, which could be deadly, independent of the cause of the faint. It’s worth mentioning that it’s an especially odd behavior that people seem to travel to the bathroom when they feel dizzy. All things considered, it’s better to faint in your soft bed or surrounding carpeted floor than on the hard tile of a typical bathroom with even harder sinks, toilets and tubs in close proximity.
2. My doctor always warns me about high blood sugars. You mentioned low blood sugars as a cause of faints. Am I putting myself in danger if I’m taking sugar and my sugar level is already high?
If you know all of that, yes. More often, you know none of that. Here’s the deal. Both a high and low glucose (blood sugar) count can cause altered mental status, fainting and coma. If your glucose level is especially high, say 900, and you drink some orange juice, it won’t make much of a difference. If your glucose level is 0, and you are given some orange juice, your life just got saved. In other words, it’s medically worth the risk if you don’t know what the glucose level is.
3. Can a loved one really take my breath away?
Yes. Overstimulation can lead to syncope in a variety of ways as mentioned previously.
4. What’s with the goats?
If you’re referring to Tennessee fainting goats, they exist. The goats don’t actually faint. When startled, they become stiff to the point of being unable to move their legs. Subsequently, the terrified goats can’t run and just topple over. Here you go.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: You’re Way Too Comfortable With Fainting

Don’t faints seem mysterious?  It’s as if your computer crashed and had to reboot.  Although we never seemingly figure out why computers are so crazy, fainting (syncope) is reducible to a common denominator: something causes a decrease in blood flow to your brain.  Recall that oxygen and other needed nutrients are carried in blood, so even a temporary stoppage or shortage of blood flow shuts things down.  Now extrapolate that to strokes and comas, which are often due to serious and prolonged causes of blockage to the blood vessels supplying the brain.  This is a prime example of why good blood flow and good health are so important.  The brain is a highly efficient, oxygen and energy-guzzling organ.  Shut it down for even a few seconds, and bad things start to happen.  Consider fainting a warning sign.

I’m going to start by offering some Quick Tips to help if you find yourself around someone who has fainted.  Then, I will get into the weeds of why these things happen for those interested.  I’m doing this so you can check these and determine where your risks may be.

  • Call 911.  Make sure the person is still breathing and has a pulse.  If not, start CPR.
  • Loosen clothing, especially around the neck.
  • Elevate the legs above the level of the chest.
  • If the fainter vomited, turn him/her to the side to help avoid choking and food going down the airway (aspiration).
  • A diabetic may have been given instructions to eat or drink something if s/he feels as if s/he is going to faint.  If you know this, a faint would be a good time to administer any glucose gel or supplies advised by a physician.  Prompt treatment of low blood sugar reactions is a life-saver.  Discuss and coordinate how you can perform this effort on behalf of your friends and family with their physicians.
  • If it’s possible that the faint is part of some heat emergency (heat exhaustion or heat stroke).

Actually, faints are caused by all kinds of medical problems.  I list a few notable causes below, but whether the front end difficulty is with the heart pumping, the nerves conducting, or the content of oxygen or energy being delivered, the end result is the same.

  • Decreased nerve tone (vasovagal syncope): This is the most common cause of faints, and contrary to what you might think, it happens more often in kids and young adults than in the elderly.  Understand that your nerves actually regulate blood flow (analogous to a train conductor telling the heart to speed up or pump harder or not).  Changes in nerve tone can result in errant signals being sent, transiently resulting in low flow.
  • Diseases and conditions that affect the nervous system and/or ability to regulate blood pressure: Alcoholism, dehydration, diabetes and malnutrition are conditions that may depress the nervous system.  Alternatively, coughing, having a bowel movement (especially if straining) and urination may abnormally stimulate the system.  In the elderly and those bedridden, simply standing can cause fainting due to difficulty regulating blood pressure.  In this case, standing causes a sharp drop in blood pressure.
  • Anemia: A deficiency in blood cells can lead to a deficiency in oxygen delivery to the brain.
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heart beats): Inefficiency in your heartbeat leads to unstable delivery of blood to the brain.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia): Low energy states can deplete the body of what it needs to operate effectively, leading to low blood flow.
  • Medications (especially those treating high blood pressure): anything that lowers the heart’s ability to vigorously pump blood around the body can leave the brain inadequately supplied, leading to a blackout.  Let’s include illicit drugs and alcohol in this category.
  • Panic attacks: Hyperventilation caused by anxiety and panic upset the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the brain, which can lead to fainting spells.
  • Seizures: Here’s a chicken and egg scenario.  A prolonged faint can lead to a seizure, and seizures lead to periods of unconsciousness, during and after the seizure.  The lack of oxygen is a common denominator.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Basic Questions and Answers about Anemia

What is anemia?
Anemia is a condition defined by blood containing a lower than normal number of red blood cells or if the blood cells present don’t contain sufficient hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen throughout the body). Anemia from iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency.

What causes anemia?
There are many causes of anemia and many different types of anemia, but the most common causes are blood loss (the moss common cause), a lack of red blood cell production and higher than normal rates of destruction of red blood cells.

What are the symptoms of anemia?
One of the major points of blood is it is the vehicle for carrying blood and removing carbon dioxide (waste) from your body. The presence of anemia means the absence of sufficient oxygen through the body. This produces symptoms such as fatigue (the most common symptom), weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, cold feeling in the hands and feet, pale skin and chest pain. Severe or long-lasting anemia can cause actual damage to your heart, brain, and other organs in your body and can lead to death.

Are there risk factors?
Practically, the biggest risk factor is being a woman of child-bearing age because of the ongoing blood loss that occurs from menstruation. Additional major risk factors include a poor diet (meaning one low in iron, vitamins or minerals), blood loss from surgery or an acute injury, long-term or serious illnesses and infections, and a family history of inherited anemias (e.g. sickle cell anemia or thalassemia).
How is anemia diagnosed?
It’s important to note that all anemia is not created equal. Whether or not suggestive symptoms are present, anemia is rather easily identified with a simple blood test (the complete blood count, aka CBC). In many instances, that’s the beginning of the assessment. Additional tests may be needed to identify the specific test of anemia.
How is anemia treated?
Believe it or not, in many instances, the treatment of anemia isn’t as simple as taken an iron supplement, and thus medical assessments should be considered essential. Treatment for anemia depends on the type, cause, and severity of the underlying condition. Anemia treatment may involve dietary changes and/or supplements, but it may require other medicines, procedures, or surgery to treat blood loss.

What can I do?
Focus your efforts on these specific actions:

  • Prioritize getting routine evaluations and evaluations as needed in the midst of suggestive symptoms.
  • If you fall into a risk category, your diet and iron supplementation matters, as iron is needed to make hemoglobin. You can enhance iron absorption by eating red meats, chicken, turkey, pork, and fish/shellfish. If you don’t eat meat, foods that are good sources of iron include dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, tofu, peas, dried fruits (prunes, raisins and apricots), prune juice and iron-fortified cereals and breads. Maintaining Vitamins B12, Vitamin C and folic acid, are also important in maintaining healthy cells and absorbing iron.

The good news is quite often anemia can be easily identified, treated and controlled. As with many other conditions, early diagnosis and treatment are key for improving one’s quality of life and life expectancy.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: When Fainting is Deadly

fainting

1. So can faints be deadly?

Potentially. There are three separate sets of considerations. The brain can’t survive very long without adequate oxygen. Whatever caused that faint, if it continues to deny oxygen to the brain, can lead to seizures, strokes and death. The process that caused the faint could be deadly in and of itself. Such things would include heart attacks, strokes, seizures due to bleeding inside the brain. Significant injuries may occur after the faint. Someone who falls may subsequently suffer a head or neck injury, which could be deadly, independent of the cause of the faint. It’s worth mentioning that it’s an especially odd behavior that people seem to travel to the bathroom when they feel dizzy. All things considered, it’s better to faint in your soft bed or surrounding carpeted floor than on the hard tile of a typical bathroom with even harder sinks, toilets and tubs in close proximity.
2. My doctor always warns me about high blood sugars. You mentioned low blood sugars as a cause of faints. Am I putting myself in danger if I’m taking sugar and my sugar level is already high?
If you know all of that, yes. More often, you know none of that. Here’s the deal. Both a high and low glucose (blood sugar) count can cause altered mental status, fainting and coma. If your glucose level is especially high, say 900, and you drink some orange juice, it won’t make much of a difference. If your glucose level is 0, and you are given some orange juice, your life just got saved. In other words, it’s medically worth the risk if you don’t know what the glucose level is.
3. Can a loved one really take my breath away?
Yes. Overstimulation can lead to syncope in a variety of ways as mentioned previously.
4. What’s with the goats?
If you’re referring to Tennessee fainting goats, they exist. The goats don’t actually faint. When startled, they become stiff to the point of being unable to move their legs. Subsequently, the terrified goats can’t run and just topple over. Here you go.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: You’re Way Too Comfortable With Fainting

faint

Don’t faints seem mysterious?  It’s as if your computer crashed and had to reboot.  Although we never seemingly figure out why computers are so crazy, fainting (syncope) is reducible to a common denominator: something causes a decrease in blood flow to your brain.  Recall that oxygen and other needed nutrients are carried in blood, so even a temporary stoppage or shortage of blood flow shuts things down.  Now extrapolate that to strokes and comas, which are often due to serious and prolonged causes of blockage to the blood vessels supplying the brain.  This is a prime example of why good blood flow and good health are so important.  The brain is a highly efficient, oxygen and energy-guzzling organ.  Shut it down for even a few seconds, and bad things start to happen.  Consider fainting a warning sign.

I’m going to start by offering some Quick Tips to help if you find yourself around someone who has fainted.  Then, I will get into the weeds of why these things happen for those interested.  I’m doing this so you can check these and determine where your risks may be.

  • Call 911.  Make sure the person is still breathing and has a pulse.  If not, start CPR.
  • Loosen clothing, especially around the neck.
  • Elevate the legs above the level of the chest.
  • If the fainter vomited, turn him/her to the side to help avoid choking and food going down the airway (aspiration).
  • A diabetic may have been given instructions to eat or drink something if s/he feels as if s/he is going to faint.  If you know this, a faint would be a good time to administer any glucose gel or supplies advised by a physician.  Prompt treatment of low blood sugar reactions is a life-saver.  Discuss and coordinate how you can perform this effort on behalf of your friends and family with their physicians.
  • If it’s possible that the faint is part of some heat emergency (heat exhaustion or heat stroke).

Actually, faints are caused by all kinds of medical problems.  I list a few notable causes below, but whether the front end difficulty is with the heart pumping, the nerves conducting, or the content of oxygen or energy being delivered, the end result is the same.

  • Decreased nerve tone (vasovagal syncope): This is the most common cause of faints, and contrary to what you might think, it happens more often in kids and young adults than in the elderly.  Understand that your nerves actually regulate blood flow (analogous to a train conductor telling the heart to speed up or pump harder or not).  Changes in nerve tone can result in errant signals being sent, transiently resulting in low flow.
  • Diseases and conditions that affect the nervous system and/or ability to regulate blood pressure: Alcoholism, dehydration, diabetes and malnutrition are conditions that may depress the nervous system.  Alternatively, coughing, having a bowel movement (especially if straining) and urination may abnormally stimulate the system.  In the elderly and those bedridden, simply standing can cause fainting due to difficulty regulating blood pressure.  In this case, standing causes a sharp drop in blood pressure.
  • Anemia: A deficiency in blood cells can lead to a deficiency in oxygen delivery to the brain.
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heart beats): Inefficiency in your heartbeat leads to unstable delivery of blood to the brain.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia): Low energy states can deplete the body of what it needs to operate effectively, leading to low blood flow.
  • Medications (especially those treating high blood pressure): anything that lowers the heart’s ability to vigorously pump blood around the body can leave the brain inadequately supplied, leading to a blackout.  Let’s include illicit drugs and alcohol in this category.
  • Panic attacks: Hyperventilation caused by anxiety and panic upset the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the brain, which can lead to fainting spells.
  • Seizures: Here’s a chicken and egg scenario.  A prolonged faint can lead to a seizure, and seizures lead to periods of unconsciousness, during and after the seizure.  The lack of oxygen is a common denominator.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: When Fainting is Deadly

fainting

1. So can faints be deadly?

Potentially. There are three separate sets of considerations. The brain can’t survive very long without adequate oxygen. Whatever caused that faint, if it continues to deny oxygen to the brain, can lead to seizures, strokes and death. The process that caused the faint could be deadly in and of itself. Such things would include heart attacks, strokes, seizures due to bleeding inside the brain. Significant injuries may occur after the faint. Someone who falls may subsequently suffer a head or neck injury, which could be deadly, independent of the cause of the faint. It’s worth mentioning that it’s an especially odd behavior that people seem to travel to the bathroom when they feel dizzy. All things considered, it’s better to faint in your soft bed or surrounding carpeted floor than on the hard tile of a typical bathroom with even harder sinks, toilets and tubs in close proximity.
2. My doctor always warns me about high blood sugars. You mentioned low blood sugars as a cause of faints. Am I putting myself in danger if I’m taking sugar and my sugar level is already high?
If you know all of that, yes. More often, you know none of that. Here’s the deal. Both a high and low glucose (blood sugar) count can cause altered mental status, fainting and coma. If your glucose level is especially high, say 900, and you drink some orange juice, it won’t make much of a difference. If your glucose level is 0, and you are given some orange juice, your life just got saved. In other words, it’s medically worth the risk if you don’t know what the glucose level is.
3. Can a loved one really take my breath away?
Yes. Overstimulation can lead to syncope in a variety of ways as mentioned previously.
4. What’s with the goats?
If you’re referring to Tennessee fainting goats, they exist. The goats don’t actually faint. When startled, they become stiff to the point of being unable to move their legs. Subsequently, the terrified goats can’t run and just topple over. Here you go.

faintinggoats

Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: You’re Way Too Comfortable With Fainting

faint

Don’t faints seem mysterious?  It’s as if your computer crashed and had to reboot.  Although we never seemingly figure out why computers are so crazy, fainting (syncope) is reducible to a common denominator: something causes a decrease in blood flow to your brain.  Recall that oxygen and other needed nutrients are carried in blood, so even a temporary stoppage or shortage of blood flow shuts things down.  Now extrapolate that to strokes and comas, which are often due to serious and prolonged causes of blockage to the blood vessels supplying the brain.  This is a prime example of why good blood flow and good health are so important.  The brain is a highly efficient, oxygen and energy-guzzling organ.  Shut it down for even a few seconds, and bad things start to happen.  Consider fainting a warning sign.

I’m going to start by offering some Quick Tips to help if you find yourself around someone who has fainted.  Then, I will get into the weeds of why these things happen for those interested.  I’m doing this so you can check these and determine where your risks may be.

  • Call 911.  Make sure the person is still breathing and has a pulse.  If not, start CPR.
  • Loosen clothing, especially around the neck.
  • Elevate the legs above the level of the chest.
  • If the fainter vomited, turn him/her to the side to help avoid choking and food going down the airway (aspiration).
  • A diabetic may have been given instructions to eat or drink something if s/he feels as if s/he is going to faint.  If you know this, a faint would be a good time to administer any glucose gel or supplies advised by a physician.  Prompt treatment of low blood sugar reactions is a life-saver.  Discuss and coordinate how you can perform this effort on behalf of your friends and family with their physicians.
  • If it’s possible that the faint is part of some heat emergency (heat exhaustion or heat stroke).

Actually, faints are caused by all kinds of medical problems.  I list a few notable causes below, but whether the front end difficulty is with the heart pumping, the nerves conducting, or the content of oxygen or energy being delivered, the end result is the same.

  • Decreased nerve tone (vasovagal syncope): This is the most common cause of faints, and contrary to what you might think, it happens more often in kids and young adults than in the elderly.  Understand that your nerves actually regulate blood flow (analogous to a train conductor telling the heart to speed up or pump harder or not).  Changes in nerve tone can result in errant signals being sent, transiently resulting in low flow.
  • Diseases and conditions that affect the nervous system and/or ability to regulate blood pressure: Alcoholism, dehydration, diabetes and malnutrition are conditions that may depress the nervous system.  Alternatively, coughing, having a bowel movement (especially if straining) and urination may abnormally stimulate the system.  In the elderly and those bedridden, simply standing can cause fainting due to difficulty regulating blood pressure.  In this case, standing causes a sharp drop in blood pressure.
  • Anemia: A deficiency in blood cells can lead to a deficiency in oxygen delivery to the brain.
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heart beats): Inefficiency in your heartbeat leads to unstable delivery of blood to the brain.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia): Low energy states can deplete the body of what it needs to operate effectively, leading to low blood flow.
  • Medications (especially those treating high blood pressure): anything that lowers the heart’s ability to vigorously pump blood around the body can leave the brain inadequately supplied, leading to a blackout.  Let’s include illicit drugs and alcohol in this category.
  • Panic attacks: Hyperventilation caused by anxiety and panic upset the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the brain, which can lead to fainting spells.
  • Seizures: Here’s a chicken and egg scenario.  A prolonged faint can lead to a seizure, and seizures lead to periods of unconsciousness, during and after the seizure.  The lack of oxygen is a common denominator.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: You're Way Too Comfortable With Fainting

faint

Don’t faints seem mysterious?  It’s as if your computer crashed and had to reboot.  Although we never seemingly figure out why computers are so crazy, fainting (syncope) is reducible to a common denominator: something causes a decrease in blood flow to your brain.  Recall that oxygen and other needed nutrients are carried in blood, so even a temporary stoppage or shortage of blood flow shuts things down.  Now extrapolate that to strokes and comas, which are often due to serious and prolonged causes of blockage to the blood vessels supplying the brain.  This is a prime example of why good blood flow and good health are so important.  The brain is a highly efficient, oxygen and energy-guzzling organ.  Shut it down for even a few seconds, and bad things start to happen.  Consider fainting a warning sign.

I’m going to start by offering some Quick Tips to help if you find yourself around someone who has fainted.  Then, I will get into the weeds of why these things happen for those interested.  I’m doing this so you can check these and determine where your risks may be.

  • Call 911.  Make sure the person is still breathing and has a pulse.  If not, start CPR.
  • Loosen clothing, especially around the neck.
  • Elevate the legs above the level of the chest.
  • If the fainter vomited, turn him/her to the side to help avoid choking and food going down the airway (aspiration).
  • A diabetic may have been given instructions to eat or drink something if s/he feels as if s/he is going to faint.  If you know this, a faint would be a good time to administer any glucose gel or supplies advised by a physician.  Prompt treatment of low blood sugar reactions is a life-saver.  Discuss and coordinate how you can perform this effort on behalf of your friends and family with their physicians.
  • If it’s possible that the faint is part of some heat emergency (heat exhaustion or heat stroke).

Actually, faints are caused by all kinds of medical problems.  I list a few notable causes below, but whether the front end difficulty is with the heart pumping, the nerves conducting, or the content of oxygen or energy being delivered, the end result is the same.

  • Decreased nerve tone (vasovagal syncope): This is the most common cause of faints, and contrary to what you might think, it happens more often in kids and young adults than in the elderly.  Understand that your nerves actually regulate blood flow (analogous to a train conductor telling the heart to speed up or pump harder or not).  Changes in nerve tone can result in errant signals being sent, transiently resulting in low flow.
  • Diseases and conditions that affect the nervous system and/or ability to regulate blood pressure: Alcoholism, dehydration, diabetes and malnutrition are conditions that may depress the nervous system.  Alternatively, coughing, having a bowel movement (especially if straining) and urination may abnormally stimulate the system.  In the elderly and those bedridden, simply standing can cause fainting due to difficulty regulating blood pressure.  In this case, standing causes a sharp drop in blood pressure.
  • Anemia: A deficiency in blood cells can lead to a deficiency in oxygen delivery to the brain.
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heart beats): Inefficiency in your heartbeat leads to unstable delivery of blood to the brain.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia): Low energy states can deplete the body of what it needs to operate effectively, leading to low blood flow.
  • Medications (especially those treating high blood pressure): anything that lowers the heart’s ability to vigorously pump blood around the body can leave the brain inadequately supplied, leading to a blackout.  Let’s include illicit drugs and alcohol in this category.
  • Panic attacks: Hyperventilation caused by anxiety and panic upset the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the brain, which can lead to fainting spells.
  • Seizures: Here’s a chicken and egg scenario.  A prolonged faint can lead to a seizure, and seizures lead to periods of unconsciousness, during and after the seizure.  The lack of oxygen is a common denominator.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA). Enjoy some of our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress