How does stress relate to fainting?

I have suffered from fainting for four years. Since then I have had full faints three times but near-faints much more frequently. Yesterday was an especially stressful day for me - travelling and intense work demands - and I felt a near-faint coming. This morning also, so I led on my bed.

Do you know if there is a link between fainting and stress? Do you think it is more likely that because it is a busy day I'm not aware of eating enough and therefore it is blood sugar-related?

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  • Oh, my, where do I start? I've posted several times about my history of fainting under the PSP community and just realized there is a whole community of itself for fainting. Wow.

    To answer your question, absolutely there is a connection between anxiety/stress/panic attacks, etc. and fainting. Involves the sympathetic nervous system.

    Plus there are several different types of fainting. I have NMH, Neurally Mediated Hypotension and have been a chronic fainter since age 3, to the present, age 54. Can't tell you the number of times I've passed out over my lifetime; in the 100's; it's a debilitating problem unto itself, and has worsened along with my PSP.

    It's also very possible you are a little or a lot hypoglycemic (sp?) meaning episodes of low blood sugar. I graze all day as opposed to a few bigger meals. I eat every 3 hours or so, a mix of protein & a carb. It helps.

    It sounds like fainting is a newer problem for you. Have you been examined specifically by a doctor for this? If not, please do so as soon as you can. Fainting is sometimes a symptom of a bigger problem; be good to yourself and get it checked out.

    Judy J

  • Many thanks JudyJ. I've just registered with a new GP and will be discussing this with them soon. I had an ECG with the previous GP, which proved to be fine, but that is as far as they wanted to investigate it. I think it could be related to hypoglycaemia, a friend with it has similar symptoms to me sometimes. I often feel better eating low GI foods and substitutes, such as eating a meal with a mixture of GIs. I'm very much a grazer too! Thanks again.

  • Stress can be a cause of fainting. A psychogenic blackout is a medical term for a blackout or faint that can look like reflex syncope or epilepsy but is not related to either. They can happen for different reaons in different people. For example, it has become clear that psychogenic blackouts are not uncommon amongst students struggling with the stresses of exams and school life, peer pressure and worries of getting that first job. These sorts of blackouts often become much less of a problem after colleage or university life.

    Every patient presenting with an unexplained blackout should be given a 12-lead ECG (heart rhythm check). We would recommend that you discuss with your doctor.

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