By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

While fainting is fairly common, it could be a sign of a heart problem.

Heart-related causes are to blame for fainting more often in people older than 60 compared to younger people, according to guidelines for medical professionals. This could be due to underlying heart disease or taking a higher dose of blood pressure-lowering medication.

When people faint, they lose consciousness due to a drop in blood pressure. That results in a lack of oxygen to the brain. Occasional fainting is not necessarily cause for concern, but if it’s repetitive, it needs to be addressed. About 14 percent of people have recurrent fainting.

The guidelines say people who faint for any reason should get a physical exam and provide their doctor with a detailed medical history.

The office visit may include an electrocardiogram, a simple, inexpensive test of the heart’s electrical activity that can help spot heart-related causes of fainting.

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