What Causes Sudden Loss of Consciousness Without Warning?

What Causes Sudden Loss of Consciousness Without Warning? Image

Sudden loss of consciousness without warning results to a medical emergency known as Fainting. Fainting is a brief loss of consciousness which occurs as a result of  sudden reduction in blood flow to the brain. It could be a pointer to an underlying health condition and therefore necessary that the cause is discovered.

Have you ever experienced sudden loss of consciousness without warning? What was the major trigger? In this article, I will be discussing what causes sudden loss of consciousness without warning plus how long loss of consciousness lasts.

Does this sound exciting to you? Let’s dive right into it.


So, what causes sudden loss of consciousness without warning?

If there is a malfunction in that part of the nervous system that controls heart rate and blood pressure, which could be a response to a trigger, it leads to a sharp drop in heart rate  and blood pressure which reduces the supply of blood to the brain. This in turn causes a sudden loss of consciousness without warning.

Some of the triggers that causes sudden loss of consciousness without warning are: 

1.  Standing in a position for too long

Standing for too long in one position causes blood to pool in the legs which decreases the rate at which blood flows back to the right side of the heart. This affects cardiac output  which causes  blood pressure to fall thereby leading to fainting episode.

2.  Severe dehydration and malnutrition

Severe dehydration and malnutrition can lead to lightheadedness and loss of consciousness which are symptoms associated with fainting spells.

3.  Acute pain, fear, anxiety and panic attacks

Dizziness, headaches and other symptoms associated with fainting episodes increases on a daily basis with the release of stress hormones from the brain due to fear, long- anxiety and panic attacks.

4.  Moving Quickly

Standing up rapidly from a lying position or a seated position can result to a fall in blood pressure otherwise known as orthostatic hypotension. This usually occurs in older adults. Possible causes include dehydration, alcohol, medication for high blood pressure, antidepressants among others.

5.  Working for long hours under hot weather

Working under extreme heat can lead to fainting because the brain wont be receiving enough oxygen. In an attempt to cool down the body, the heart pumps out blood to the capillaries thereby leading to blood pools in the extremities instead of returning to the heart to be pumped up to the brain.

6.  Low blood pressure

The inability of the heart to supply enough blood to the brain when there is a sudden drop in blood pressure can lead to fainting.

7.  Sudden drop of sugar level in the blood below what is healthy

There is every likelihood to feel lightheaded when the sugar level in your blood suddenly drops forcing the brain to try to preserve as much energy as possible.

8.  Rapid or deep breathing caused by panic or anxiety

You may feel lightheadedness and faint when your breathing becomes fast and deep because you exhale a lot of carbon dioxide which leads to changes in the chemical composition of the body. 

9.  Some medications can cause the blood pressure to drop

Abnormal low blood pressure otherwise known as hypotension can cause dizziness and fainting.

10. Violent coughing

Violet coughing can lead to fainting episodes if not treated properly.

12. Heart condition

Fainting can be associated with some heart conditions like abnormal heart beat, chest pain, heart attack, high blood pressure among others.

How Long Does Fainting Last?

Most fainting episodes are  very brief , about a few seconds but it makes the person feel weak and unwell. A complete recovery may take several minutes if there is no underlying medical condition in connection with it.  Fainting ordinarily should not cause concern but it can be a pointer to a serious underlying medical condition. Generally, seeing a doctor is advised after a fainting spell.

Can You Die From Fainting?

Periodic fainting should not cause much concern but an older person with certain risk factors should note that it is a symptom to a serious medical problem. To loose or regain consciousness temporarily is possible but fainting caused by sudden cardiac arrest raises more serious concerns because the person might not wake up unless a lay responder or First Responder restores the normal heart rhythm with CPR and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Since every second counts in sudden cardiac arrest, if help doesn’t come in 10 minutes, the person will die. Cardiac arrest is often fatal if appropriate steps aren’t taken immediately. More than 356,000 cardiac arrests occur outside a hospital in the U.S. each year.

How to Help Someone who has Fainted and is Responsive

  • Help the person to lie on his or her back.
  • loosen tight clothing
  • Treat cuts or bruises associated with a faint fall if any but if there are no injuries and the person is breathing, raise the person’s feet above the height of his head
  • Don’t get the person up so soon for fear of fainting again
  • Call your local emergency number if the person doesn’t recover in few minutes.

How to help someone who has fainted and is Unresponsive

  • Help the person to lie flat on the floor on his back
  • Call your local emergency number
  • Begin CPR immediately if the person is not breathing until advanced help arrives.
  • You can get a detailed information on how to acquire CPR skills by visiting this site www.hei.org.ng

Follow these steps if you feel faint;

  • Sit down and lower your head towards your knees if it is not possible to lie down. Blood will flow to the brain as the head is lowered below the heart.
  • Lie down and raise your feet to prevent loss of consciousness.
  • If your environment is hot, fresh air can also help.

So far, I have provided important information to what causes sudden loss of consciousness without warning. Think this article was helpful, leave us a comment in the box below.

If you think there are areas I have omitted or other topics you will like me to write on, you can also leave me a comment below.

Author Profile

Paschal Achunine
Paschal Achunine
Paschal Achunine Is the founder of Health Emergency Initiative(HEI) for Indigent patients. HEI stands as next -of-kin to indigent patients in public hospitals and also for road accident victims.

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