Prevent fainting

Fainting is a loss of consciousness and is usually short-lived. It occurs due to hyperventilation, low blood pressure, stress, pregnancy, bleeding, low blood sugar, heat, anxiety or pain. It can be scary to experience this. You feel yourself sinking and no longer have control over your consciousness. The heart rate will drop. Sometimes fainting can be prevented.

What is fainting?

Fainting causes a lack of oxygen in the brain. This can have various causes, but the result is that the patient loses consciousness. The heart beats slower and the patient is unaware of things happening around him. Fainting can occur suddenly, but you can also feel it coming. You often feel unwell beforehand, nauseous, light-headed and the sounds and images around you become increasingly vague. If you suddenly faint, you suddenly become lost. You will recover within a few minutes.


The cause of fainting lies in a temporary lack of oxygen in the brain. This is often caused by a drop in blood pressure. Normally, blood vessels constrict when blood pressure drops. The heart beats faster, pumping more blood to the brain. However, sometimes this does not take effect, the heart beats slower and you faint. A drop in blood pressure can occur as a result of (major) bleeding, use of medications, sometimes a heart defect, diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, low blood sugar levels, etc. Fainting also occurs more often during pregnancy. In addition, stress, anxiety and tension sometimes also cause fainting. Some faint at the sight of blood or a needle. Pain can also be a trigger.

Fainting: Don’t hit your head!

Most people think fainting is dangerous. This may indeed be the case if you end up unluckily and bump or hurt your head. Yet fainting is also useful: the lying position that your body automatically adopts allows oxygen-rich blood to be pumped to the brain more quickly. Gravity then does not work against it. Once you have fainted, you may develop a fear of it. Fainting sometimes feels like life is slipping away from you. Fortunately, this is not the case: you will recover naturally after a few minutes. The doctor can accelerate this by firmly squeezing the muscle between the neck and shoulder. Although fainting itself is rarely dangerous, falling can be dangerous. The head can sustain damage, which can sometimes be very serious. Fainting can sometimes be prevented, especially if someone has a tendency to faint more often. It is therefore important to recognize certain triggers but also preceding signals.

Recognize the signs of fainting

Before fainting, you often sweat and feel nauseous. You feel dizzy and your eyes turn black. Problems arise with vision and there is often tinnitus. The heart rate slows down, which is noticeable to outsiders and doctors by feeling the pulse. The face becomes very pale: all color disappears. Sometimes you feel yourself fighting it and trying to stay ‘awake’. You sink deeper and deeper or suddenly disappear. You no longer receive anything from your environment. This will take a few minutes, after which you will recover. Sometimes you are just confused. slowly the color in the face returns. The heart rate has accelerated again. Tingling sensations often occur in the body because the blood flows normally again. Do not get up immediately: your legs often still feel weak. You may also feel dizzy and tip over.

Preventing fainting: avoiding triggers

Fainting is triggered by certain causes. These causes can often be avoided or prepared for. High anxiety and stress is a major trigger. If you need to be treated by a doctor or dentist and you feel anxious, please discuss this. It helps to place a cold washcloth on the forehead and place the head a little lower than the rest of the body. The treatment chair is often tilted. A sedative beforehand reduces anxiety.

Eat enough and on time. Low blood sugar levels can cause fainting. Never exercise if you have not eaten for a long period of time. If you feel weak during exercise, take an energy drink or eat something. If you suffer from diabetes, take this into account by eating on time/taking insulin/following the doctor’s advice. Fainting can sometimes occur when taking certain medications. Take this into account and do not drive a car or machines. Get enough sleep. Too little sleep causes over-tiredness. This is also a trigger and can provoke fainting. If you have long-term stress, you may temporarily experience poor sleep. If necessary, try to catch up on sleep during the day. Leave work or school earlier to get some rest, go to bed on time and try to fit a certain rhythm into your daily schedule.

During pregnancy, blood pressure can sometimes be too low, resulting in fainting. It is important that the midwife checks the blood pressure regularly. Fluid retention (edema) can be a sign of low blood pressure. Be careful during pregnancy: fainting can have a serious adverse effect if the woman falls on her stomach. If you feel dizzy, dizzy, nauseous, sweating or other complaints during pregnancy and this occurs more often, visit your midwife or doctor.

Sometimes fainting occurs when you suddenly get up, more often the eyes just become black for a moment. There is then a problem with the nervous system that causes the blood vessels in the legs to not be sufficiently compressed. The blood then sinks to the legs instead of being pumped to the brain. This occurs more often in young people between the ages of 15 and 25, but can also be present or develop later in life. Always get up quietly and stay close to a chair or bed so that you can immediately lie down or sit down again. Bend your head forward when you feel dizzy. This means blood flows to the brain faster. Rarely is fainting the result of a heart defect. However, the doctor will always check this if fainting occurs more often. Occasional fainting is not considered serious. On average, 30 percent of people faint at some point.