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Syncope is the medical term for fainting. It happens when your brain doesn't get enough blood flow and you lose consciousness. Usually a slow heart rate causes a drop in blood pressure, which reduces blood flow to the brain. In most cases, you recover within seconds or minutes. A small number of people, mostly the elderly, have episodes of fainting.

If you have slurred speech or have trouble moving an arm or a leg after fainting, call for emergency help right away. This may be a sign of stroke.

Causes

Fainting often happens due to a nonmedical cause, such as:

  • Standing up for long periods of time
  • Feeling emotionally distressed
  • Seeing something upsetting or disturbing, such as at the sight of blood

Symptoms

Symptoms that you may have before you faint include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Feeling warm
  • Blurred vision
  • Sweating
  • Heaviness in your legs
  • Confusion
  • Yawning
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting

In addition to losing consciousness when you faint, you may also:

  • Turn very pale
  • Fall down or slump
  • Have spasmodic jerks of your body
  • Have a weak pulse
  • Experience a drop in your blood pressure

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