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(sĭng`kəpē), temporary loss of consciousness caused by an insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. It can be concurrent with any serious disease or condition, such as heart failure, hypertensionhypertension
or high blood pressure,
elevated blood pressure resulting from an increase in the amount of blood pumped by the heart or from increased resistance to the flow of blood through the small arterial blood vessels (arterioles).
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 (high blood pressure), arrhythmiaarrhythmia
, disturbance in the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. Various arrhythmias can be symptoms of serious heart disorders; however, they are usually of no medical significance except in the presence of additional symptoms.
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, hemorrhagehemorrhage
, escape of blood from the circulation (arteries, veins, capillaries) to the internal or external tissues. The term is usually applied to a loss of blood that is copious enough to threaten health or life.
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, injury to the brain or other organs, or poisoning. Less serious conditions can also cause fainting, e.g., fatigue, prolonged standing, getting up after long confinement to bed, pain, hunger, dehydration, anemia, or fright or other emotional disturbance. Loss of control of blood pressure can be detected with the tilt test. Such drugs as scopolamine, beta-blockersbeta-blocker
or beta-adrenergic blocking agent
, drug that reduces the symptoms connected with hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, angina pectoris, migraine headaches, and other disorders related to the sympathetic nervous system.
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, and disopyrmide have been successful in restoring the integrity of the vascular system. Person aware of an oncoming fainting spell should sit down and lower their heads between their knees for a moment or two to increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. The already unconscious person should be placed in a supine position, preferably with the feet raised. If unconsciousness persists, cold water on the face or the inhalation of aromatic spirits of ammonia may be tried. Under no circumstances should any liquid or medication be forced down the throat of an unconscious person. Fainting for more than a few minutes requires medical attention. After regaining consciousness, the patient should remain recumbent for at least 10 minutes and arise gradually.


Dreams that we remember are those that have penetrated through our ego defenses, their messages having begun to come into our conscious awareness. Often, we do not have a full understanding of the meaning of a particular dream. Awareness is a long and continual process. If you remember dreams in which you are fainting, the setting of the dream and the details leading to the fainting spell are important. Fainting in your dream suggests that you are unable to consciously confront the issue or the topic that is being raised by the unconscious. In daily life, we faint under specific conditions. For example, when we are physically ill or when environmental conditions, such as heat, powerful smells, traumatic events, or dramatic visual images, overcome us. In the dream, internal forces, images, or emotions that may be too powerful for us to process may have an overwhelming effect on the dream ego and fainting occurs. The fainting dream may be the first step in a process of becoming more aware of a particular area of your life. The unconscious will continue to send up messages and eventually you may be able to experience the unconscious psychic event that currently results in fainting.