Syncope is a health problem which is defined as a loss of consciousness which occur when there is an insufficient flow of blood to the brain. Insufficient flow of blood to the brain can result due to low blood pressure. When the blood pressure becomes too low, the brain fails to get enough oxygen rich blood. As a result, the body starts to lose consciousness and leads to fainting or blackout. Blood pressure is the force of blood on the walls of the arteries.
Syncope is a common problem that can have many causes and the cause of this can range from mild to serious. For example, syncope can occur due to standing for a long or it can occur due to the availability of some serious health problem.
Normally, the heart pumps oxygen rich blood to the brain and other parts of the body and there is a constant increase and decrease in the blood pressure in the heart but when the blood pressure becomes too low for a long period of time, the flow of blood to the brain and other parts of the body is affected and they are unable to get oxygen rich blood. As a result, an individual faints.
Types of syncope
1. Neurally mediated syncope
It is also known as neurocardiogenic syncope and it is defined as a chronic condition which is characterized by the pooling of blood in extremities, a decrease in blood pressure, and low heart rate. Sometimes it can cause lightheadedness.
2. Reflex syncope
It is also known as also known as common faint and this is because it is very common and can be triggered by various factors. Reflex syncope is subdivided into few types:
- Vasovagal syncope - It can occur due to factors such as emotional stress, trauma, standing for a long time, and fear of something.
- Carotid sinus syncope - It can occur due to constriction of the carotid artery in the neck which can be triggered by factors like wearing a tight collar or turning head.
- Situational syncope - It can occur due to gastrointestinal stimulation, or immediately after urination, coughing, or laughing.
3. Cardiac syncope
It is also known as heart rhythm disorder and it occurs due to the irregular heartbeat, that is when heartbeat becomes too fast or too low. It is a quite serious type of syncope. Although anyone can get cardiac syncope, people who suffer from any heart disease are at high risk.
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Diseases that are associated with syncope
1. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia is defined as an inherited myocardial disorder which is characterized by inflammation that affects both right ventricles and left ventricle. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia is most commonly accompanied by symptoms like syncope, palpitations, and nonsustained ventricular tachycardia. The symptoms are strongly associated with the severity of the disease.
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia is a progressive heart muscle disease. Most often the onset of symptoms of this disease begins between the age of 20 and 40. It is associated with gene mutation of desmosomal myocardial protein that causes that causes abnormalities in the intercellular adhesion of myocytes along with fibrofatty tissue replacement. This leads to gradual changes in the ventricular walls.
2. Transient ischemic attack
A transient ischemic attack is a serious disorder which occurs due to the blockage that affects the supply of blood to the part of the brain. Apart from syncope, it is characterized by a wide range of symptoms such as weakness, numbness in one side of the body, difficulty in speaking, blurred vision, confusion, and severe headache.
Blockage in the arteries is the most common cause of the transient ischemic attack. This blockage is basically a blood clot in the areas and causing the arteries to narrow. This blocks the flow of blood to the brain and other regions. Sometimes a transient ischemic attack can occur due to damage to the tiny blood vessels in the brain.
3. Subclavian steal syndrome
Subclavian steal syndrome is a disease which is characterized by attacks of transient cerebral ischaemic symptoms which are caused due to the reversal of normal blood flow in the vertebral artery. Patients who suffer from subclavian steal syndrome presents mostly as asymptomatic and it has been recognized that prerequisite for the development of symptoms is the presence of disease in other extracranial vessels supplying the brain.
Subclavian steal syndrome is a relatively uncommon disease which usually occurs in people ages between 59 and 61 years. Also, according to research, women are more likely to suffer from this disease as compared to men. It is associated with many clinical manifestations and syncope is one of the common ones.
4. Aortic stenosis
Aortic stenosis is a disease which is defined as a narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve. It is a disease whose prevalence increases with age and it occurs due to the accumulation of calcium deposits on the aortic valve. Over time this accumulation leads to the narrowing of the aortic valve. The most common symptoms that are associated with aortic stenosis include chest pain, fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath and fainting. In serious cases, it may lead to heart failure.
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