Fainting, passing out, swooning or blacking out or syncope(the medical term for fainting) all refer to the same thing, loss of consciousness. Though most blackouts only last a few minutes some can even last for days in severe conditions and could be fatal. The cause of a blackout is what determines its duration. To understand how to do something, we must fully understand what actually happens during the process and its causes, to induce appropriate stimulators.
What happens when we pass out
The lack of oxygen due to an insufficient supply of oxygenated blood to the brain causes one to lose consciousness. Our brain requires oxygen to function and any deprivation will make you feel lightheaded, dizzy and cause a blackout. Though you can quickly recover just by lying straight on your back and letting blood flow to the brain, If the deprivation lasts more than a minute it may cause irreversible damage to the brain.
Just before you faint you would feel lightheaded, dizzy, weak, and feel as if you are losing control of your senses and have blurred vision. Your blood pressure and sugar would drop and you might feel as if everything around your health is spinning.
Causes of passing out or fainting
There is only one cause for fainting and that is an insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain also known as asphyxiation. There are a few factors that induce asphyxiation they are
- Weather: There is some evidence to show the connection between heat and fainting during summers our blood flows to the skin for homeostasis. Insufficient supply of blood to the brain causes fainting.
- Phobias and anxiety: Phobias make us anxious. Exposure to something our brains consider threatening causes a sudden increase in blood pressure followed by a sudden drop and this drop causes one to faint.
- Trauma or Intense pain: vasovagal syncope is the term to describe when one faints due to pain. Intense pain in any part of the body stimulates the Vagus nerve leading to a blackout.
- Dehydration: Insufficient water supply causes a drop in the blood pressure, this stimulates the Vagus nerve leading to a blackout.
- Low blood pressure and sugar levels: Sugar acts as a source of energy for our body, low sugar levels cause a drop in the blood pressure to preserve energy, which causes you to faint.
- Standing up too quickly or Standing in one position for too long: When sitting or lying down the blood pressure drops. Standing up quickly after sitting or lying down for too long will cause one to feel dizzy, and even faint. When you stand for too long, your blood is drawn to your feet. This causes a decrease in oxygen supply to the brain causing a blackout.
- Excessive alcohol or drugs consumption: Increased blood alcohol levels cause the blood vessels to expand this causes a decrease in the blood pressure and causes a blackout.
- Intense coughing: Cough syncope is a condition of prolonged intense coughing which can often cause dizziness and even lead to a blackout.
Ways to make yourself pass out
There are no safe ways to faint as it is our body’s reaction to an insufficient supply of oxygen. Forcing yourself to blackout can be dangerous as it could damage the brain. Here are a few ways that would help you pass out:
Note: These could be dangerous and damaging to health.
One of the most common causes of a blackout is low sugar levels. If you skip a few meals your blood sugar will drop causing a drop in the blood sugar level and blood pressure which would eventually lead to a blackout. This method is especially dangerous for people who have diabetes or a history of diabetes.
Losing body water due to diarrhea, vomiting, or insufficient consumption of water or no water consumption at all causes your blood pressure will drop and cause a blackout. Note: This method is very dangerous and causes damage to the kidneys.
Stay in the same position
If you keep standing for a prolonged period of time most of your blood will be drawn to your feet and less supply to the brain (note: this could cause swelling in the feet). When in a standing position our heart has a hard time pumping blood against gravity. This will cause the blood pressure to drop leading to a blackout.
Get up quickly
After staying in the sitting or lying position for a while get up very quickly. When sitting or lying our blood pressure should drops because our heart does not have to work extra hard to pump blood against gravity. When you get up quickly this low blood pressure would cause you to faint.
Change breathing pattern
Change your breathing in a way that you feel suffocated. Most people pass out because of suffocation. Hold your breath for a while or take breaks between breathing episodes. If can reduce your breathing to the point you feel suffocated you are likely to pass out.
Run in circles
Running in circles or spinning is known for causing dizziness. Some people feel lightheaded and even throw up after spinning. Running in circles or spinning disturbs the vestibular system in the ear which is responsible for maintaining the balance of the body. This loss of balance will make you feel lightheaded and dizzy and might cause you to faint.
Pinching the nerve
You might have noticed how some people faint when they hit their elbow, it’s called pinching the nerve or hitting the funny bone. There is a nerve present on the lower part of the forearm on the outer side of the elbow joints known as the ulnar nerve. The nerve is sensitive and any strikes or blows to the area cause compression on the nerve which stimulates the Vagus nerve leading to a blackout.
Some of the most common side effects or symptoms of a blackout include:
- Lightheaded and Dizziness
- Body aches such as cramps
- Loss of weight and appetite
- Heart racing/ palpitation
Seek help if
If you have successfully made yourself pass out but are experiencing any of the following you should seek medical assistance.
- You are experiencing memory loss or any other sort of memory problem.
- Having difficulty or trouble breathing.
- Experiencing seizures.
- Nose bleeds or intense fevers.
- Experiencing intense pains
Fainting, passing out, swooning, blacking out or syncope means losing consciousness. The main cause of syncope is insufficient oxygen supply to the brain. Different stimulators cause a drop in blood pressure which causes one to faint. You can also make yourself faint by pinching the nerve, dehydration, cutting sugars, changing your breathing patterns, and running in circles or spinning. Keep in mind that if oxygen deprivation exceeds a minute it could have serious damage to your brain.