Understanding Fainting -- Prevention

How Can I Prevent Myself From Fainting?

If you have a tendency to faint and you are able to identify any situations that provoke fainting, try to avoid them. For example, you may need to be sure that you eat regularly to avoid hunger. Other interventions that may help are to avoid excess fatigue, warm environments, and alcohol -- all of which can cause fainting. You may need to learn to control your breathing so you don't breathe too quickly and hyperventilate when feeling anxious. You may need to get up very gradually from a lying position. Many episodes of fainting occur when getting out of bed, so it is wise to carpet the area around the bed and keep it free of objects that could be hit during a fall.

To help prevent fainting, people who have documented heart-related attacks known as neurocardiogenic syncope -- mostly children and young adults -- should be on a high-salt diet and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and maintain blood volume. They should watch for the warning signs of fainting -- dizziness, nausea, and sweaty palms -- and sit or lie down if they feel the warning signs.

Elderly people with fainting need to have their medications reviewed by their doctor and be evaluated for any serious cardiac or neurologic issues. They should also exercise caution when changing positions from lying to standing. Slowly elevating the body allows it to adjust to the new position, minimizing the chances of fainting. Dehydration must also be avoided in older patients.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on April 2, 2017

Sources

SOURCES: 

Heart Rhythm Society. 

American Academy of Family Physicians. 

The Merck Manual.

American Heart Association.

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