What does it mean when you pass out?

Have you ever passed out before? Maybe it was from standing up too quickly, getting a little light-headed, and then BAM next thing you know your face is in the carpet. It’s not the most pleasant experience to say the least. However, passing out can be caused by several things, and some are more serious than others.

Fainting vs. Passing Out

What’s the difference between fainting and passing out anyways? Aren’t they just two different ways to say “I suddenly found myself lying on my back with absolutely no idea how I got here”? Surprisingly (or maybe not so much), there actually is a distinction between fainting and passing out.

  • Fainting:
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Often accompanied by dizziness or feeling lightheaded
  • Triggers include emotional stress or lack of sleep

  • Passing Out:

  • Sudden loss of consciousness
  • Can occur without any warning signs like feeling dizzy beforehand
  • Causes could indicate a health issue such as blood sugar regulation problems or even heart failure

What Causes A Person To Pass Out?

There are many reasons why people pass out (some funnier than others). If you find yourself collapsing often enough that it starts becoming less funny though, perhaps one of these common triggers is causing it:

Inner Ear Infections:

Our inner ear plays an important role in maintaining our balance; hence when it’s infected- namely with Labyrinthitis – we may become disoriented which might lead us straight to our side on the floor.

Standing Up Too Quickly / Orthostatic Hypotension:

Rushing into standing position after having been seated for long periods (”Chair bound” )can leave one dizzy and potentially losing their footing fairly easily; this sudden drop in blood pressure called orthostatic hypotension will cause you to pass out like a fuzzy little squirrel in winter.

Blood Pressure Regulation Issues:

Both Hypertension and hypotension could lead one to blacking out when untreated or compounded by an extreme during physical activity

Vasovagal Syncope:

The name itself sounds more threatening than the condition: essentially it means that certain triggers such as extreme pain, emotional shock or even being subjected to medical exams (needles particularly) is enough for the body to decide ”Imma shut this party down” while your legs give way beneath you.

Is It A Stroke?

So imagine we’re just sitting around with a friend who suddenly loses consciousness. We try not to panic but slowly torture ourselves trying to remember what they had for breakfast because God knows we do not have our CPR basics on lock right now.

It might seem like a foolish question at first…but dear reader, allow me to enlighten you; could my friend be having a stroke?

Stroke symptoms are usually broader than simply passing out: notably weakness on one side of the body, possibly slurred speech accompanied with severe headache(s). If any of these descriptions sound relevant- now would be the time for grabbing someone’s attention and dialing emergency services.

Alcohol And Drugs

One of my favourite paragraphs SO FAR(cue poorly hidden sarcasm):

Although alcohol pleasantly lowers many inhibitions, if consumed in excess this will obviously overshadow most faculties including balance resulting in ungracious falls reminiscent amongst others of Laurel & Hardy qualities (for all you younger readers perhaps rephrase towards styles resembling PT Anderson’s Magnolia?)

Furthermore there are drugs such as benzodiazepines which actively promote sleep whilst suppressing respiratory rate that may result in death due solely from respiratory arrest

Head Trauma Or A Concussion?

Blunt trauma events(usually involving hilariously placed obstacles appearing seemingly out if nowhere) may cause concussion which can trigger loss Of consciousness (LOC) post the moment of impact. In these cases monitoring any tell-tale symptoms such as waning into a confused state or developing speech deficits is vital.

First Aid For Someone Who Has Passed Out

So let’s say you’re that person hovering over your blacked-out friend and the word ”do SOMETHING” keeps speeding through your head on loop.

  • Try to prevent further injury by gently guiding the falling person in a coordinated descent.
  • Ask loudly & call out their name to try and wake them up
  • Check for signs of breathing, body temperature etc..
    • TLDR Warning: If someone has stopped breathing commence CPR
  • Allow good airflow; Watch patient closely while waiting for medical assistance

Well, there you have it. A guide from start to finish led with cautionary humour topped off with some much needed seriousness thrown in like sprinkles on top of an ice-cream cone. So next time somebody passes out do not hesitate before throwing wild speculation around because hey maybe they chose this particular floor because the colour just resonated so well against their insides?