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Fainting

Basic Mechanisms And Predisposition In Elderly People, Causes, Evaluation And Treatment

Fainting is a common symptom in the elderly, generally referred to in the medical literature as syncope. Fainting is defined as transient loss of consciousness accompanied by loss of postural tone, with spontaneous recovery, not requiring resuscitation. Fainting has multiple underlying causes. This common symptom has potential adverse consequences, such as falls, fractures, brain injury, soft tissue injuries, and anxiety, which particularly in the elderly may lead to loss of independent function. When the reason for fainting is an underlying heart disease, an increased risk of sudden death is suggested; but when fainting is unexplained after thorough initial evaluation and recurrent then there is no such increased risk.

A person who faints may have some convulsions but recovers quickly and is not confused for more than a few minutes, whereas a person with epilepsy will usually have more prolonged convulsions and be confused for a longer time. In coma the heart beats and the person breathes but consciousness is not regained as quickly.

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Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 2