Vasovagal Syncope: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Vasovagal syncope occurs when a person faints. Certain things trigger the body to overreact. It can be from something as simple as the sight of blood or something as serious as a trauma. It is sometimes referred to as neurocardiogenic syncope. Vasovagal syncope causes the sufferer’s blood pressure and heart rate to drop suddenly. This prevents the blood from flowing to the brain and can cause a brief loss of consciousness. There is no cure for vasovagal syncope, and in most cases, it is not harmful.

Vasovagal Syncope Causes

Vasovagal occurs when the nervous system malfunctions and can no longer regulate blood pressure or heart rate. This happens due to a trigger. These triggers can vary, and there sometimes is no clear trigger at all. There are a few other things that can also cause this reaction. Those things include:

  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Heat exposure
  • Seeing blood
  • Having blood drawn
  • Fear of bodily injury
  • Straining, such as to have a bowel movement

Vasovagal Syncope Symptoms

The symptoms of vasovagal syncope can vary by individual. Some people experience the symptoms before they faint, and others experience them once they regain consciousness. Some people also experience a lot of symptoms while others experience a few. Some of the most common symptoms include:

Vasovagal Syncope Diagnosis

Diagnosing vasovagal syncope can be difficult. In most cases, doctors will need to rule out other illnesses or diseases. They may conduct or order a variety of tests that can help them confirm a diagnosis. These tests include:

  • ElectrocardiogramThis test records the electrical signals the heart produces and can tell doctors if there is a heart defect or problem.
  • Echocardiogram: This test uses ultrasound imaging to view the heart and look for various heart conditions.
  • Exercise stress test: This test studies heart rhythms during exercise and shows how the heart reacts.
  • Blood tests: Doctors will do blood tests to see if there are any other health problems that could be causing the symptoms.

Vasovagal Syncope Treatment

In most cases, vasovagal syncope does not require treatment. If it is interfering with a patient’s daily life, doctors may work to help them determine the triggers and find ways to avoid them. Doctors may also suggest a few other things that can help prevent vasovagal syncope from occurring. These things include:

  • Blood pressure medication
  • Food exercises
  • Nutritional changes
  • Pacemaker

Vasovagal Syncope Prognosis

Most people will only experience vasovagal syncope a few times in their lives. It may be unpredictable, but the only dangers associated with it are injuries that may occur as a result of falling. People who experience vasovagal syncope often can work on preventative treatment methods to help reduce the episodes. Once other health problems are ruled out and triggers are determined, patients can learn to avoid the triggers and live normal lives. People who are affected by the condition often have it for the rest of their lives and simply have to learn to live with it.