WODdoc Episode 213 Project365: Not For The Faint Of Heart

What do you do if you or someone you around you faints while exercising?

First, what is fainting? Fainting in the medical world is referred to as syncope; a sudden transient loss of consciousness normally due to temporarily insufficient blood supply and oxygen to the brain.

So what the heck does that mean?!?!?!? It means you pass out because for whatever reason no oxygen is geting to your noggin. Transient means it lasts for a very short time… the person usually regains consciousness very quickly.

Is it dangerous???

Well, we never want to deprive our brain from oxygen but since the inadequate supply is so brief there is very minimal danger in the act of passing out itself. (we will talk about the danger in a sec.)

 What are those convulsions???

Don’t be scared of convulsions (that rapid shaking that happens). Convulsions seem to be a natural component of your brains response to hypoxia (inadequate oxygen).  Although the rapid seizure-like movements of the limbs and head by look awful to bystanders … again, very minimal danger and no lasting effects.

What do I do if someone faints in front of me???

First and foremost … if you are and untrained professional and are in doubt, call emergency services. This is NEVER a wrong answer!!!  If the person “comes to” very quickly and wants to return to activity stop them. Suggest they stay on the floor for a few minutes. Allow them to gather themselves and slowly progress them to a seated and then standing position.  Its not uncommon that someone becomes flush and nauseous following a fainting spell so continue to monitor. Suggest rest and hydration (don’t let them continue activity) and get them to a loved one who can continue to monitor them, ultimately taking them to a physician for evaluation as soon a possible.

Why can’t I continue exercise… I feel fine.

Because the rapid loss of oxygen fatigues the central nervous system and in a way shocks our body. Balance, coordination, strength can all be altered.  You’re not running your best which can increase injury risk.

You said fainting isn’t bad … So wha is dangerous???

The problem we run into in the lifting world is a lot of the times athletes pass out holding weights. Falling is bad enough. Falling with weights is worse. There is minimal danger with fainting however there is a high correlation of head injuries with falling. This brings the whole concussion gambit in but that info is for another time.

RED Flags

1. Loss of consciousness – this is an automatic day ender — for reasons discussed above.

2. Balance – change in balance is a sure sign that something is not right — your day is done.

3. Coordination – repeat record here — its not worth the risk.

4. Change in mood – this is another loud sign the suggest there was a shock to the system — hit the showers

5. Eye Response – assuming you’re not a doctor don’t over read into this one… just release pupil constrict to bright light and dilate to dark conditions.  If this isn’t happening — hospital pronto


More info coming…..