Medical science, which after all is nothing more than the study of the human body and its behavior, also names the most common and universal phenomena. And although technical terms can sometimes sound more serious and worrisome than their everyday equivalents, understanding them from a scientific point of view can help us to know how to deal with them and to worry only as much as is necessary. The lipotimia , for example, is one of these regular events.
What is lipothymia and what are its causes?
Lypothymia, also called vasovagal syncope and neurocardiogenic syncope, is the medical name for common fainting caused by the body’s disproportionate reaction to a trigger (such as seeing blood or emotional stress).
In most cases, lipothymia is harmless , does not require treatment and does not show any serious underlying problems. However, in some rare instances it can be due to more serious causes, such as cardiac or neurological conditions, so the doctor may prescribe tests to rule out these reasons based on the idiosyncrasy of the patient. In this sense, it is recommended to consult with the doctor after a lipothymia.
What are your symptoms?
Moments before the loss of consciousness occurs, there may be a series of symptoms or prolegomena that announce it . These include paleness, lightheadedness, visual disturbances (narrowing of the visual field known as ‘tunnel vision’, blurred vision, double vision, flashes …), auditory disturbances (buzzing, beeping, feeling of distance from ambient sounds) , nausea, feeling hot, profuse sweating, mydriasis (dilated pupils), slow and weak pulse and abnormal movements.
During loss of consciousness, the person suffering from fainting often falls to the ground due to loss of muscle tone. This is the cause of the greatest danger of this phenomenon, since there is a risk of injury from falling.
Recovery is progressive , but begins on its own within moments after fainting.
How is it treated?
The action against lipothymia, in most cases, has more to do with first aid at the time of the phenomenon than with clinical treatment, since, as we have pointed out, this event is not usually serious. However, if in subsequent tests the doctor detects any pathology, it will be necessary to treat it accordingly.
At an immediate level, the most important thing is to avoid the risk of falling by lying on the back or by sitting with the head between the knees of the person who begins to feel the prolegomena of a lipothymia (if it occurs alone, it is best to lie on your back, even if it’s on the ground). Loosening tight clothing or jewelry and elevating the legs above the rest of the body (no more than 12 inches) may help relieve symptoms.
The next step is to check that the person is breathing (in case of fainting if there is breathing; if there is not, we are facing a more serious problem). If this is not the case, it is necessary to start with the cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuver and alert the emergency services.
After a fainting spell, the affected person should be prevented from getting up abruptly and, ideally, they should remain lying down for 15 to 30 minutes, otherwise they run the risk of fainting again. Providing water or sugary drinks helps recovery.
If it has not been possible to avoid the fall and there has been an obvious injury, it must be treated accordingly , for example applying pressure to stop the bleeding if there is one).