What can make it worse: coughing, urination, head-turning, exer-tion, pain, a fright, food, hitting your head.
Your Doctor Visit
What your doctor will ask you about: seizures, changes in vision,changes in sensation or movement, urination and bowel movements,chest pain, hunger, sweating, dizziness when standing, head injuries.
Your doctor will want to know if you or anyone in your familyhas had any of these conditions: seizures, neurologic disease, dia-betes, cardiovascular disease, lung disease.
Your doctor will want to know what happened when youblacked out, including what position you were in, and whetheranyone watched you black out.
Your doctor will want to know if you’re taking any of these med-ications: digitalis, antiarrhythmics, anticonvulsants, antidepres-sants, blood pressure medications, insulin, diuretics, oral hypo-glycemic agents.
Your doctor will do a physical examination including the fol-lowing: blood pressure, pulse, listening to your heart with astethoscope, testing your stool for blood, thorough neurologicalexamination.
WHAT CAN CAUSE BLACKOUTS, AND WHAT IS TYPICAL FOR EACH CAUSE?
Cause: Vasovagal/ postural syncope
What is it: Common fainting
Typcal Symptoms: Blacking out after standing, coughing, urinating, emotional stress, or injury
Cause: Insufficient cardiac output
What is it: Your heart is not pumping enough blood to meet your body’s needs
Typcal Symptoms: History of heart disease, chest pain, or irregular heart beats, blackouts mayoccur after exercise
Cause: Cerebrovascular disease
What is it: Blockages of the blood vessels feeding the brain
Typcal Symptoms: Spontaneous falls, sometimes changes in vision,speech, or movement
Cause: Seizures (See chapter on Convulsions [Seizures].)
What is it: Convulsions
Typcal Symptoms: Losing control of your movements, an alternating pattern of rigidity and relaxation, sometimes accompanied by a loss ofconsciousness; sometimes accompanied by loss ofbowel or bladder control
Cause: Anemia (See chapter on Weakness.)
What is it: Low blood count
Typcal Symptoms: Black bowel movements, rapid heart rate
Cause: Medication use
What is it: Diuretics, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, digitalis, insulin
Typcal Symptoms: Hunger, sweating, heart pounding prior to losing consciousness, fainting after standing
What is it: Stress or other emotionalproblems
Typcal Symptoms: Prolonged “coma” without any clear cause, may feature eyelid fluttering