6 signs you're about to pass out and why it happens

July 21, 2023

Fainting is one of the most common issues emergency medicine doctors see, says Dr. Torree McGowan, an emergency medicine physician in Culver, Oregon, and a spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians.

“In general, passing out can be all the way from completely benign — you got a little bit woozy when you saw some blood — all the way up to life-threatening — your heart wasn’t beating correctly,” McGowan tells

“When we see people in the emergency room, we try to figure out: Where on that spectrum do they fall?”

No matter the cause, the consequences of suddenly fainting can be severe, including cracked skulls and brain injuries, she says.

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