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Homoeo call feeling dizzy or that spell of fainting might be just a physiological response or a deeper malaise.


A sudden fainting episode with a loss of consciousness is called syncope. It can happen suddenly without any underlying condition and may not mean much but it can indicate an illness with unfavourable consequences and is imperative that it is investigated.

A rapid decrease in blood flow to the brainstem which controls consciousness and the balance of the body causes syncope.

In about 80% of the cases it is due to vasovagal response. A sudden stimulus like sight of blood, pain, fright, noxious stimuli, coughing, swallowing or sometimes urinating or even passing stool causes the pooling of blood to the lower limbs as a response and the reduced blood supply to the brainstem triggers an episode of syncope. If it occurs after a viral illness, dehydration, after a shower etc. there is a similar response. The good thing about these vasovagal episodes are that the person feels a sense of lightheadedness, sweating, nausea or weakness before an episode occurs.

The other reason could be that while standing for long periods of time there is an accumulation of blood in the lower limbs and the low blood pressure resulting from this could cause an episode of syncope which is also common in patients of diabetes and Parkinson’s syndrome. Reduced oxygen concentrations in the blood in certain lung disorders can cause a similar problem but the incidence is not common. A sudden decrease in the blood supply to the conscious center of the brainstem also called as transient ischaemic attacks due to deficiency of supply through the vertebro basilar arteries causes syncope. This is the neurological cause of the problem.

By far the most troublesome cause is related to the events of the heart. If the blood supply from the heart is interfered through the main vessels due to clots, if there is rigidity of the valves of the heart leading to formation of clots to spread along into the circulation or if the rhythm of the beat of the heart is affected; syncope occurs. This is a cause for concern and needs to be addressed.

A person whose lower half of the heart or ventricles are affected by long standing heart disease is more prone to it than others. There is a disturbance of rhythm or tachycardia or rapid beats that can land one into this precarious situation.

It could also be due to slowing down or bradycardia.

A good part of the vasovagal response of syncope is that there is warning sign of lightheadedness etc. which allows the person to lie down immediately and restore the circulation to the head which can abort an episode.

A person under medication which leads to loss of salts from the circulation should be careful to see that dehydration does not lead to a fainting spell. Such conditions can be easily corrected by Kali mur, Natrum mur, Arnica etc. while the pooling of blood in lower extremeties in diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes is prevented with medications like Lachesis. Fear and fright do not trigger fainting after a prescription of Arg. Nit and Gelsemium etc.

Since the diseases of the heart can precipitate such problems they can be prevented with medicines like Crataegus, Convallaria, Strophanthus etc., while rhythm is helped by Veratrum viride, Digitalis etc.


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