Falls and Syncope Service

Vasovagal Syncope

(0191) 282 5237 - Falls and Syncope Service

What is vasovagal syncope?

This is the term used to describe the tendency to faint. The most common reason iswhen a person stands for a long time and blood collects in the legs. This causes blood pressure to fall and dizziness as less blood goes to the brain. This is usually relieved by lying down.

Vasovagal syncope is not dangerous and usually gets better in time. This leaflet has some helpful suggestions and advice if this happens to you.

What should I do if I feel dizzy or faint?

Act quickly, as soon as you feel your symptoms coming on:

  • Sit down immediately
  • If possible, lie down flat
  • Put your legs in the air, for example against a wall
  • When you feel well again, get up cautiously. However, if you have further symptoms you may need to lie down again.

How can I stop this happening?

  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods. If you do have to stand still, then clench and unclench your calves or rock forward on the balls on your feet to encourage blood flow.
  • Avoid sudden changes in posture. Bending or stooping suddenly may make your symptoms worse. Try to pause in between changes in position.
  • Wear support stockings or tights during the day. This will help to return blood to the heart.

Does what I eat and drink affect my symptoms?

  • Increase the amount you drink. Try to drink 3-4 pints (1.5-2 litres) of water in the first few hours of the day.
  • Drink strong tea or coffee. This will help to keep your blood pressure up, only drink up to five cups per day.
  • Avoid excess alcohol. Alcohol will make your symptoms worse. You may find that you can tolerate a small drink, but avoid drinking large amounts.
  • Increase your salt intake. It is important that you only do this after discussion with your doctor. Do not increase your salt intake if you are receiving treatment for high blood pressure.

Are there any other treatments?

It is best to try and manage vasovagal syncope without taking medication if at all possible. The doctor will discuss your treatment with you.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask a member of staff.

Contact Falls and Syncope Service
Telephone 0191 282 5237
Hours Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm

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