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Feeling faint?

In most cases, fainting is not a serious problem. However, if it occurs frequently it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Although fainting is not a common condition among truck driv...




In most cases, fainting is not a serious problem. However, if it occurs frequently it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Although fainting is not a common condition among truck drivers when it does occur it tends to have very serious results. You can imagine what would happen if a driver were to faint while behind the wheel of a loaded truck.

Syncope or fainting is defined as a temporary loss of consciousness. People who faint usually regain alertness soon after regaining consciousness. Fortunately, fainting is a fairly rare condition. In fact, only 3% of adults aged 30-62 years have had an episode of syncope.

Essentially, fainting is caused by a temporary loss of blood supply to the brain. There could be many reasons for this decrease in blood flow. One common cause of fainting is shifting position from a lying or sitting to a more vertical position.

This is called postural hypotension, which basically means there is a drop in blood pressure when you stand up. Some blood pressure medications can also cause a decrease in blood pressure which can lead to fainting.

This is a very important point for truck drivers, as many take medications for high blood pressure. Another possible cause of fainting is dehydration. Here is yet another reason to stay well hydrated while on the road. Other causes of fainting include diabetes and diseases of the nerves in the legs. In these conditions too much blood is pushed to the legs instead of to the brain, while in an upright position.

The biggest risk of fainting is in people with heart disease, especially those with congestive heart failure or coronary heart disease. This is the reason the Ministry of Transportation is very strict with drivers with heart conditions. They will only allow drivers to have a licence if their doctor has given them a clear bill of health.

The cause of fainting is usually diagnosed by a doctor after taking a detailed history of the individual’s activities, evaluation of medications, and investigation of underlying medical conditions.

In addition to a detailed history, your doctor will perform a physical examination that will include blood pressure and pulse measurements in a lying, sitting, and standing position.

To add to this, your doctor will examine your heart with a stethoscope to listen for sounds that can indicate valve abnormalities. Depending on the presence or absence of accompanying symptoms, patients who are fainting regularly may be admitted to the hospital for observation and further testing. When heart conditions are ruled out, the next stage of testing involves tilt-tables.

This type of testing requires patients to be placed on a table that can be tilted in different positions. The patient’s blood pressure and pulse are measured and recorded in these various positions. After evaluating the measurements, your physician will be able to determine if there is a problem with the blood flow or supply to the brain.

Treatment of fainting is not always simple. Generally, the strategy is to identify and treat the cause of the lack of blood to the brain. However, things like staying well hydrated and getting up slowly from a lying or sitting position can reduce the risk of fainting.

Fainting occasionally is usually not a cause for alarm but if it becomes more frequent or is accompanied with headache, nausea or difficulty speaking it is important to consult with your physician.

– Dr. Jerry Singh, B. Kin., D.C., runs Trans Canada Chiropractic at 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont.


Truck News

Truck News

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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