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My sister, who is 72 years old, has fainted several times as she was getting up from a chair. She thinks this is nothing to be concerned about, but I disagree. What is your opinion?

It would be prudent for your sister to consult a medical care provider for an assessment to rule out a potentially serious underlying cause of her fainting. Because feinting involves a loss of muscle tone and often results in falls, your sister is more likely to suffer a fall-related injury if she does not seek evaluation and treatment.

Fainting (called "syncope" in medical terms) can sometimes be an indication of a serious health problem, but it is more often a relatively benign reaction to a brief insufficiency of oxygen to the brain.

Fainting is commonly caused by two conditions: orthostatic hypotension and postural hypotension. These conditions are caused by a temporary decrease in blood pressure and a temporary loss of fluid within the blood vessels, respectively. Getting up slowly may help prevent both types of fainting.

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Publication:Women's Health Advisor
Article Type:Interview
Date:Dec 1, 2011
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