What Causes Neurocardiogenic Syncope?

Vasovagal neurocardiogenic syncope is quite a mouthful, but you probably know it by the more common term: fainting spell. Fainting spells are something people with eating disorders may experience from time to time.

Fainting can be a very scary experience, not just for the person who faints but for anyone unfortunate enough to witness the episode. If you've had one, you may be wondering what causes it, if it's dangerous, and what you can do about it.

The Cause of Neurocardiogenic Syncope

When neurocardiogenic syncope occurs, it's because something triggered a person's heart rate and blood pressure to drop suddenly. There is reduced blood flow to the brain, which is what causes a brief loss in consciousness.

Triggers that cause these episodes may vary from person to person. Intense emotions may trigger these kinds of incidents, such as what may happen when one witnesses an accident or sees a large amount of blood. Some people can experience them after standing or straining themselves too long.

People who are malnourished or dehydrated may already have low blood flow as the body attempts to conserve energy, so fainting may be triggered when we don't eat enough. In fact, one of the first things doctors will usually ask when a person has a fainting spell is if they've eaten today.

Is Neurocardiogenic Syncope Dangerous?

In general, neurocardiogenic syncope is not usually dangerous. The biggest threat with these episodes is that a person may hurt themselves when falling. Otherwise, it's just another symptom of a greater problem: malnutrition.

Symptoms of Neurocardiogenic Syncope

Some symptoms that may occur in conjunction with a fainting spell include nausea, dizziness, cold sweat, or feeling overheated. People may experience blurriness or "tunnel vision," or they may begin to have jerky movements. The pulse may be weak and the person may go pale.

How Is Neurocardiogenic Syncope Treated?

Usually, there is no treatment necessary for neurocardiogenic syncope. There is no cure for it.

Doctors will mainly be concerned about the triggers that may have caused the incident. They may run some tests to see if there are any underlying heart problems or problems with circulation.

If an eating disorder is the root of the problem, then treatment for the disorder will help prevent further fainting spells from occurring. A person getting proper nutrition and who is sufficiently hydrated is less likely to suffer from these spells.

Sources: Baptist Health

Photo: Pexels

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