by Logan

The Health Scoop on Fainting

Have you ever felt a little wobbly after seeing blood or when your Doctor pulls out that needle that couldn’t fit in your garden hose. Well, likely you aren’t alone.

But….If you’ve never felt a high level of anxiety before, it is likely you haven’t experienced the same effects it takes for someone to faint because of needles or blood.

But, even if you are deathly afraid of spiders or even heights or maybe even leaving your own home, you still  may not be experiencing something different than those with an aversion to needles or even blood.

Once you see that needle, your heart begins to race, sweat pours down your face, and you feel hotter than the sun. Often, your last fleeting thought is to somehow escape.  Soon, there is only darkness around you.  Until someone is shaking you awake.

What is Fainting?

Fainting is also referred to as Syncope or a Vasovageal Response.  It is a brief loss of consciousness due to the drop of blood flow to the brain. The episode can last from a few seconds to several minutes.  Often you feel light-headed prior to falling unconscious.

Of course, fainting when seeing blood or needles doesn’t always occur every time you come into visual contact with one of the phobias. But overall, it has been reported that almost 75% of those with the phobia to blood have fainted at some point in their lives.  It is about a 50% case with a phobia to needles.

If you think about it, can you imagine 50% of people fainting due to a phobia of spiders or heights?  Something must be different with these “medical phobias” rather than all others.

Possible Causes or Explanations

A medical response, would say to what’s exactly happening is… it starts in the arteries with vasodilatation, which shunts the blood away from the brain. Some believe that you are fainting because of a chemical change in your body at the sight of blood or needles. It is far less understood why this doesn’t happen, as much, in other phobia like instances.  But true and complete fear can cause syncope or fainting. But not at a 50% click.

Studies are being done to evaluate a possible genetic link. In many cases, if you have a phobia to needles, so does someone else in your family. As many debates, we are back to the genetic vs.  nurture. Are you afraid because you’ve watched your sister or brother who is afraid or is something you are born with?  Well, the answer could be yes and no.  But, as for now, genetics is the most likely reason to faint at the site of needles or blood. But certainly, additional research could shed the light on this subject more fully.

The Bizarre world of Needles and fainting

By the way, fainting after injections is a very interesting concept.  After all, with all of the blood testing, injections, immunizations, you would think that most of us have seen a needle or two in our lives.

What other times do people faint?

You may be asking yourself, besides medical phobias; why else does someone tend to faint.  There are several medical conditions that could cause this including low blood pressure, medications, dehydration, drug use, alcohol use, and even hyperventilation.

Surprisingly, coughing too hard can cause you to faint, straining during a bowel movement, severe pain, urinating, and even standing in the same place for too long.

Fainting when giving Blood

Some people faint when giving blood.  It may not be the actual site of blood that causes the fainting to occur. That is often why it is asked that you eat a good meal prior to giving blood.

The reason is rather simple, drop in blood pressure. When you give a pint of blood, your blood pressure will drop several points.  Hopefully this won’t prevent you from giving. But, it should make you eat and drink a good meal.  Oh, and after you give blood, don’t stand up too quickly.  Another cause of fainting.

Overcoming needle and blood aversion is possible, but it can be difficult. The best way is to plunge into daily visual photos of blood and needles. This isn’t to become weird or bizarre but to become more comfortable with the two.

For some, overcoming aversion is impossible.  If this is the case, inform medical providers, emergency personnel and anyone else that may need to be close by in case you plunge into darkness in their presence.

Good luck!!!

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