We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Most Common Causes of Syncope?

By Debra Durkee
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Syncope is more commonly known as fainting, and causes of syncope usually involve a lack of blood flow to the brain. This can happen for a number of reasons that ultimately result in oxygen deprivation in the brain, usually temporary. There can be a problem in the function of the heart, of the blood vessels, or either of these caused by a sudden emotional response to surroundings or an environmental stimulus.

One of the most common root causes of syncope is low blood pressure. This occurs when the heart is pumping less than the required amount of blood through the body, resulting in a lower than normal amount of oxygen being delivered to the brain. An irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, or other heart conditions may add to this risk. When this oxygen deprivation occurs, it can be serious enough to cause fainting and loss of consciousness.

Hypotension, or low blood pressure, is often caused by sudden changes in the rhythm of an individual's heart. This can occur when there is a major emotional reaction to something in the environment, a sudden physical threat or exertion, or sudden, involuntary body functions. A severe and prolonged coughing fit can result in a drop in blood pressure and lead to an experience called situational syncope; this refers to causes of syncope that involve a sudden occurrence.

Stress is one of the most common and most well-known causes of syncope. Bad news, pressure at home or at work, or a sudden, life-changing event can all play havoc with the rhythm of the heart and lead to a fluctuation of blood flow to the brain. Feeling lightheaded and dizzy can be precursors to a loss of consciousness in these situations. Syncope caused by these types of emotional stimuli is called vasovagal syncope.

Another of the common causes of syncope is dehydration. Not properly hydrating when exercising can cause the heart to work overtime and pump less blood through the body and to the brain. Keeping hydrated can eliminate most problems, and if it does not, fainting while exercising can be a sign of a more serious condition. Excessive sweating rids the body of vital water, which should be replaced when taking part in heavy physical activity.

Sometimes, simply moving quickly can cause a change in the way blood is taken to the brain. Standing suddenly, especially when coupled with other conditions such as dehydration or fatigue, can result in syncope. When stationary for a long period of time, such as on a long flight, it is important to get up and stretch occasionally and to be careful when doing so. Most often, this is coupled with some kind of pressure on the carotid artery of the neck that restricts blood flow to the brain.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.