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Common Causes of Fainting and Dizziness

Common Causes of Fainting

Issues with the Nervous System

Fainting is often caused by an issue in the central nervous system. The central nervous system includes your brain, your spine and all of the nerves in your body. Together, this system controls every other system in your body. Sometimes an issue occurs in the central nervous system that causes the body to stop working correctly and can result in a drop in the body’s blood pressure. This drop in blood pressure can result in fainting.

Standing Up Too Fast

Fainting may be caused by changing positions quickly. When you stand up quickly, the effect of gravity will result in blood being directed away from the brain and into the lower body. Your body will respond by constricting blood vessels in order to maintain a healthy blood pressure. If this does not happen quickly enough, a person may faint. This condition is known as hypotension and is often driven by other medical issues including being dehydrated, having diabetes or taking certain medications.

Heart Problems

Individuals with heart problems can cause a reduced supply of blood to the brain. In this instance, the fainting is a symptom of the underlying heart condition. Individuals with known cardiac issues are most likely to have heart related fainting. Fainting spells that happen repeatedly or that have a sudden onset should be checked in order to rule out a heart condition.


Children are susceptible to fainting from reflex anoxic seizures. Reflex anoxic seizures occur when the vagus nerve, one of the nerves in the head, becomes overwhelmed. This temporary results in the heart stopping which can result in fainting. Small children who become very upset are most likely to experience this type of fainting.


Strokes occur when a blockage prevents adequate blood flow from reaching the brain. This can result in a loss of conscious due to the reduced blood flow.

Low Blood Sugar

Having adequate blood sugar is necessary for all functions in the body. When blood sugar drops too low, the body cannot function properly, which can result in fainting. Eating regularly and managing issues such as diabetes can address.

Fainting spells are typically not a cause for a concern. However, because fainting can be an indicator for a serious medical issue, it is important to seek medical attention. If you believe you’ve experienced the common causes of fainting and would like additional information, contact a member of the NY Neurology Associates team. If you would like to schedule an appointment or check for availability, please click below or call 212 987-0100.

NY Neurologists

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