Did you know that nearly 40% of people experience fainting at least once in their lifetime? Being aware of the risks related to fainting allows you to develop effective strategies for managing it. Also, you can adapt your habits to help prevent an episode.
So, is vasovagal syncope genetic? Read on to explore the dizzying world of fainting and genes.
What Is Vasovagal Syncope?
Vasovagal syncope, also known as neurocardiogenic syncope, is a common type of fainting that occurs due to a sudden drop in blood pressure and heart rate. This can cause a person to lose consciousness, resulting in a syncope episode. Some people may experience dizziness, nausea,
or sweating before fainting.
Vasovagal Syncope Causes
There are several potential vasovagal syncope causes. Some common triggers include:
- Exposure to emotional stress or pain
- Standing for long periods
Other potential triggers include standing up from a sitting position and intense physical activity.
You might want to read about hemophobia as well, which is the fear of blood. It’s associated with fainting.
Is Vasovagal Syncope Genetic?
According to studies, there might be a genetic predisposition for vasovagal syncope. Research has shown a high prevalence of vasovagal syncope in some families, suggesting a genetic link.
Children of a fainting parent are more likely to experience vasovagal syncope compared to those without a fainting parent. This likelihood increases when both parents have a history of fainting or if the person has a fainting twin.
Furthermore, specific genes and genetic markers may be associated with vasovagal syncope, although the precise genes and pathways are still unknown. To date, the best evidence seems to involve central signaling genes related to serotonin and dopamine.
Vasovagal Syncope Symptoms
If you’re susceptible to fainting, recognize vasovagal syncope symptoms to be prepared. Some early warning signs include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Blurred vision
- Pale skin
- Increased heart rate
If you notice these symptoms, lie down or sit with your head between your knees. This can help restore blood flow to the brain and might prevent a fainting episode.
How to Handle Vasovagal Syncope
Eat small meals often to keep blood sugar stable. Complex carbs and lean proteins ensure even energy distribution throughout the day. Foods like whole grains, brown rice, turkey, and chicken are good choices.
Wear compression stockings to prevent blood pooling in the lower legs. They can be particularly beneficial for professionals who stand for long periods, such as healthcare providers and law enforcement.
Manage stressful situations calmly to prevent overstimulation of the nervous system. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help you relax.
Frequent hydration and slow posture changes help maintain blood pressure. Still, it’s best to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance.
Strategies for Managing Sudden Episodes
Is vasovagal syncope genetic? Research suggests that there may be a genetic component. However, more studies are required to determine the specific genes and pathways involved.
Early warning signs like dizziness, blurred vision, or increased heart rate could signal an impending fainting spell. By understanding your triggers, you can potentially manage vasovagal syncope. This could involve eating frequent meals, wearing compression stockings, practicing mindful stress management, and maintaining hydration.
You may also benefit from our health section. Read some of our other articles for wellness tips to aid in recovery after fainting.
Wayne Probert is a senior reporter at Zobuz, covering state and national politics, and he is a grantee with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Before joining Zobuz, he worked as a freelance journalist in Kentucky, having been published by dozens of outlets including NPR, the Center for Media.