Blackouts and dizziness

Syncope and Blackouts

Syncope is a sudden and temporary loss of consciousness, or fainting. It is a common symptom - most people pass out at least once in their lives - and often does not indicate a serious medical problem. However, sometimes syncope indicates a dangerous or even life-threatening condition, so when syncope occurs it is important to figure out the cause.

The causes of syncope can be grouped into four major categories, neurologic, metabolic, vasomotor and cardiac. Of these, only cardiac syncope commonly leads to sudden death.

Dizziness and Lightheadedness

Episodes of lightheadedness or dizziness can have many causes, including anemia (low blood count) and other blood disorders, dehydration, viral illnesses, deconditioning (such as prolonged bed rest), diabetes, thyroid disease, gastrointestinal disturbances, liver disease, kidney disease, vascular disease, neurological disorderss, faines, and cardiac syncope.

Because so many different conditions can produce these symptoms, anybody experiencing episodes of lightheadedness or dizziness ought to have a thorough and complete examination by a physician. Valve disease and heart rhythm problems are the two main causes of cardiac syncope.