A cardiologist explains the details you should give your cardiologist if you’ve been blacking out.
Have you been blacking out and are planning on seeing a cardiologist?
Don’t just tell the doctor, “I’ve been having blackouts; what’s wrong?” Certainly, your doctor will ask questions to get more information, but you should also be prepared to give specific information.
You should tell the doctor “the exact symptoms before and after the blackout,” says Dr. Sameer Sayeed, a cardiologist at ColumbiaDoctors of Somers, NY.
Dr. Sayeed continues, “Whether they could feel it coming or if it was just like a flip of a switch — awake one minute, found on the ground with facial and head injury the next without warning.
“They should tell their cardiologist if they felt any abnormal heartbeat, palpitations, chest pain, lightheadedness, dizziness before it happened, or if they feel changes in certain positions make them feel like passing out.
“They should tell their doctor if it occurred after urinating, a big bowel movement, meal, extreme activity or taking medication.
“They need to tell the doctor if they are diabetic and taking diabetic drugs or exercising. Whether they feel completely normal or awakening from the blackout and feel funny.”
Though blackouts can have non-cardiac causes, it’s important to rule out any possible heart problem.
Dr. Sayeed says cardiac causes can be a “slow heart rate; pauses in the heart beat; fast and irregular heart beat; severe obstruction of a heart valve; and carotid sinus hypersensitivity causing fainting with changes in position.”
Of course, the sooner you see a cardiologist after a blackout, the less you’ll have to tell your doctor, but some people DO put off seeing a doctor, or, they see a doctor but fail to give as much information as they are capable of.
So every time you have a blackout, it’s vital to document all the details that you experienced just prior to it, after it, and even within 15 minutes of it, to see if a pattern emerges.
Dr. Sayeed performs echocardiograms and stress tests at the Midtown Manhattan and Westchester offices at Columbia Doctors. He is also trained in cardiac CT imaging.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.