Fainting (Syncope)

Lifestyle & Management

If you have orthostatic hypotension, your healthcare provider may recommend:

  • Wearing knee-high compression stockings.
  • Exercising or moving your legs and feet when you’re laying down and before you get up.
  • When first waking up in the morning, sitting for a while with your legs touching the ground, and then getting up slowly after.
  • Elevating the head of your bed.
  • Increasing your salt intake. 

If you have low blood pressure or you faint after eating, you should avoid alcohol and heavy meals that are loaded with carbohydrates. Lying down after meals may also help. 

If your fainting is associated with particular triggers, such as certain smells, tight collars, or rapid neck movements, you should be careful to avoid these triggers. 

Protecting Yourself

Since syncope can cause falls, you may want to avoid stairs, ladders, tile floors, and other surfaces that increase the chance of injury in case of a fall. 

You may also need to consider giving up driving. You can discuss this with your healthcare provider. Guidelines from the American Heart Association recommend that driving be restricted for several months, and only resumed if you don’t have any fainting spells during that time. Many states have laws that prohibit someone who has fainting spells from driving.

 

Last Updated June 2020