Fainting, also called syncope (pronounced SIN-ko-pee), is a sudden, brief loss of consciousness and posture caused by decreased blood flow to the brain.

Many different conditions can cause fainting. These include heartproblems such as irregular heart beats, seizures, low blood sugar(hypoglycemia), anemia (a deficiency in healthy oxygen carrying cells), and problems with how the nervous system (the body’s system of nerves) regulates blood pressure. Some types of fainting seem to run in families.

While fainting may indicate a particular medical condition, sometimes it may occur in an otherwise healthy individual. Fainting is a particular problem for the elderly who may suffer serious injuries from falls when they faint. Most episodes are very brief. In most cases, the individual who has fainted regains complete consciousness within just a few minutes.

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