The medical term, “Vasovagal Syncope” is certainly a mouthful to say and pronounce. If you are wondering, what this very scientific sounding phrase means it is the term that is used to refer to the most common cause of fainting.
Fainting at the Sight of Blood
Up to 15% of the population experiences a sharp drop in blood pressure at the sight of blood, which causes them to experience Vasovagal Syncope, or to “faint at the sight of blood”. Fainting at the sight of blood is caused by a body’s exaggerated reaction to specific triggers. The sight of blood being one of the most common triggers that causes Vasovagal Syncope.
Medical Reasons Why People Faint at the Sight of Blood
Vasovagal Syncope results when a trigger (sight of blood) causes a sudden drop in the heart rate and blood pressure, which reduces the flow of blood to the brain. The result for an individual experiencing Vasovagal Syncope is a brief loss of consciousness. The Vagus nerve is the nerve affected by the response. This nerve is the nerve of the muscle of the throat and larynx. The Vagus nerve is the nerve that slows down the heart rate, resulting in the faint.
Historical Reasons Why People Faint at the Sight of Blood
The medical reasons for Vasovagal Syncope are fairly easy to understand, but if you are curious as to why they occur in the first place, here is one of the theories. Some theorize that people faint at the sight of blood due to the “fight flight response”. In the early days of great battles, some warriors fainted when they saw others around them bleeding. Fainting at the sight of blood allowed them to fall to the ground, appearing to be dead or wounded. This potentially enabled them to be passed over during battle, sparing their life.
Symptoms of Fainting
Those who faint at the sight of blood generally experience a few warning signs first. The room will begin to spin. They may break out into a cold sweat and feel nauseous before fainting.
Treatment for Vasovagal Syncope
Psychologists use cognitive therapy to treat those who experience fainting at the sight of blood. The most notable treatment for Vasovagal Syncope is referred to as “applied tension”. This technique was developed by Swedish Psychologist, Lars-Goran Ost. The technique teaches the individual to begin tensing the muscles of the legs and arms when they begin experiencing the symptoms of being light-headed. This helps to raise the blood pressure and counteracts the body’s typical reaction to the sight of blood.
Those who experience episodes of fainting should definitely see a physician to rule out other more serious causes.