Fainting may be an alert for heart problems

February 23rd, 2008 - 9:06 am ICT by admin  

By Radhika Bhirani
New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) Fainting is often dismissed as a sign of temporary weakness, but it could be an important symptom indicating an acute heart problem, warn doctors. “Fainting may or may not have a serious medical rationale, but it might just hurt the person and in such a case it is advisable for patients to seek immediate diagnosis by a doctor,” said Ashok Seth, chairperson and chief cardiologist at Max Healthcare.

“The failure of the electrical system of the heart as well as the blockage of the arteries may be some reasons behind fainting. And for those who may have suffered heart problems previously, fainting can also cause complications that may even lead to death,” Seth told IANS.

According to doctors, almost one in 10 people who are brought to the hospital suffer from a cardiac problem.

Umesh Gupta, senior cardiologist at Gurgaon’s Umkal Hospital, explained further: “Irregular or rapid heartbeats can trigger syncope (the medical term for fainting). It can also signify inflammation of a heart muscle that affects the pumping of the heart and weakens it. So, the body reacts to the decreased blood flow to the brain by fainting.”

According to experts, while people suffering from chest pain, shortness of breath, blurred vision and slurring of speech must seek medical help; so must those who suffer from frequent bouts of unconsciousness.

As a precaution, doctors suggest that heart patients must take immediate medical help if they feel drowsy and faint.

Of course, fainting is also common amongst schoolchildren who collapse during morning assembly or during a particularly frenetic exercise drill. Would such children also suffer from heart problems?

No, say doctors.

According to Seth, such fainting is regular. However, it might have a serious underlying cause and should be brought to the notice of a doctor.

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