Loss of consciousness, fainting, collapse

Loss of consciousness can have many different causes and be accompanied by many different symptoms, depending on the cause.

Overview

Loss of consciousness can have many different causes and be accompanied by many different symptoms, depending on the cause. To avoid further injury, if possible, the person feeling faint should be slowly helped to lie flat on the floor. If consciousness is not regained after approx. 30 seconds, even with raised legs, a doctor should be called.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness

Other symptoms

  • Pale skin
  • Shivering or convulsing
  • Wetting
  • Memory gaps for the period of unconsciousness

Complaints before fainting

  • Field of vision “blacks out”
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Cold sweat

Causes and treatment

Causes

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Blood test (e.g. measurement of blood sugar)
  • Blood pressure measurement
  • ECG (electrocardiogram)
  • Physical performance test (e.g. cycle ergometer testing)
  • EEG (electroencephalogram)
  • CT scan (computed tomography)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the head
Possible therapies
  • Depending on the underlying cause

What can I do myself?

  • Gently lay the affected person flat on the floor
  • Raise their legs to improve the flow of blood to the brain
  • Constantly monitor their pulse and breathing
  • If these stop, the rescue service must be called immediately and resuscitation started

When to see a doctor?

  • If consciousness is not regained even after the person who fainted has been lain on the floor and their legs raised
  • In the event of recurrent or long-lasting loss of consciousness
  • Loss of consciousness accompanied by muscle cramps
  • After an accident which led to unconsciousness

Synonyms

Loss of consciousness, fainting, collapse

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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