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Health Information For Teens
Fainting is pretty common in teens. The good news is that most of the time it’s not a sign of something serious.
Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness. It happens when there isn’t enough blood going to the brain because of a drop in blood pressure.
Blood pressure can drop from dehydration, a quick change in position, standing or sitting still for a long period, or a sudden fear of something (such as the sight of blood).
Here are some of the common reasons for fainting:
Physical triggers. Getting too hot or being in a crowded, poorly ventilated setting are common causes of fainting. Sometimes just standing for a very long time or getting up too fast after sitting or lying down can cause someone to faint.
Emotional stress. Emotions like fright, pain, anxiety, or shock can cause
to drop. This is the reason why people faint when something frightens or horrifies them, like the sight of blood.
Hyperventilation. A person who is hyperventilating is taking fast breaths. Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the blood falls, causing blood vessels to narrow. Blood flow to the brain decreases, making a person faint.
Medical conditions. Conditions such as heart problems, anemia, low blood sugar, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) can cause fainting.
Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the body undergoes a lot of changes, including changes in the circulatory system. These may cause a woman to faint. And as the uterus grows, it can press on and partially block blood flow through large blood vessels, which can decrease blood supply to the brain.
Someone who is about to faint might have:
If you think you’re going to faint, you can try to stop it by taking these steps:
If you’ve only fainted once, it was brief, and the reasons why are obvious (like being in a hot, crowded setting), then there’s usually no need to worry about it. But if you have a medical condition or are taking prescription medicines, it’s a good idea to call your doctor.
Call the doctor or get medical care if you:
The doctor will ask a few questions, do an exam, and might order some tests, such as:
If you’re with someone who has fainted, try to help the person lies down. Don’t move someone who might be injured from falling (that can make things worse). Instead, loosen any tight clothing — such as belts, collars, or ties. Propping the person’s feet and lower legs up on a backpack or jacket also can help blood flow to the brain.
Someone who has fainted will usually recover quickly. Because it’s normal to feel a bit weak after fainting, be sure the person stays lying down for a bit. Getting up too soon may bring on another fainting spell.
Call 911 if someone who has fainted:
Lots of people wonder if they have hypoglycemia, but the condition is not common in teens. Get the facts on hypoglycemia.
When blood glucose levels drop too low, it’s called hypoglycemia. Very low blood sugar levels can cause severe symptoms that need to be treated right away.
Dehydration is when the amount of water in the body has dropped too low. Read about what causes dehydration, what it does to your body, and how to prevent it.
Household products are safe for cleaning, painting, and the other things they’re meant to do. But as inhalants, they can cause serious problems, even death.
In a concussion, the brain shifts inside the skull. This can cause a sudden – but usually temporary – disruption in a person’s ability to function properly and feel well. Here’s what to do if you suspect a concussion.
Anemia is common in teens because they undergo rapid growth spurts, when the body needs more nutrients like iron. Learn about anemia and how it’s treated.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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