Aging & Health A to Z
Basic Facts & Information
Compared to younger adults, syncope—the medical term for fainting—occurs twice as often in adults older than 70, and three to four times as often in adults over the age of 80.
When you faint, you lose consciousness, become unresponsive, and your muscles go slack. You might first feel dizzy, or hear a “buzzing” in your ears. After a few minutes, you recover spontaneously on your own. Injuries from syncope occur in about one-third of patients.
Syncope (pronounced SIN-co-pee) is not considered a disease in itself, but rather a symptom of one or more possibly serious conditions. Syncope accounts for about 3% of emergency room visits and 2% to 6% of hospital admissions each year.
Updated: November 2016
Posted: March 2012