The fainting goat disorder


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Vasovagal Syncope happens when someone’s body overreacts to certain triggers.

Bridget Nye, Staff Writer

Almost everyone has experienced the feeling of exhaustion to the point where they feel faint. For millions of Americans, this sensation is all too common for them. This condition is known to the world as Vasovagal Syncope (VS), according to John Hopkins, “Vasovagal Syncope occurs in one third of the population.” Symptoms can range from having shortness of breath to having to lay down to protect themselves. 

Some people have only fainted a few times in their lives. Usually it can be traced down to a specific reason and isn’t a symptom of ongoing health issues. For many, if they are out in the sun for too long they are more prone to blacking out than others. 

“I passed out becuase I overheated when I was at the Oklahoma State Fair,” freshman Aiden Marsh said. “It hasn’t happened since becuase I am now very careful when I stay outside for too long.”

For others, health issues contribute to them having a fainting episode. If they are in a position where their illness flares up, it might be difficult to prevent an attack. 

“I used to pass out during marching band rehearsals. It usually only happens twice a month and only when my asthma attacks are bad,” senior Abby Graham said. 

For people with VS, fainting is a normal part of their lives. VS is a heart condition that is caused from a drop in blood pressure that can result in the person passing out. This condition is the most common fainting disorder in the United States with each person having a different range of symptoms and triggers. 

“My main triggers are heat near my neck, an empty stomach, dehydration, locking my knees and stress.” sophomore Kate Clark said. 

VS episodes can be hard to predict, so people with this condition have learned to be on alert to sense when an episode is starting.

 “Knowing what my triggers are helps me prevent it,” assistant principal Sally Stewart said. “I don’t take long showers because of the heat.”

When an attack occurs, the person needs to lie down and put their feet up in an elevated position. This makes them look like a fainting goat. This will cause the blood to flow back to their brain. When they regain consciousness, they need to remain laying down until all of the symptoms have stopped. 

“I sit for a little while until the spinning and the nausea subsides. I eat something sugary and drink a glass of water,” Clark said. 

A problem with having this disorder is that it can be hard to be taken seriously. Many people could dismiss them because they don’t realize the seriousness of the issue. It can lead to people having an attack and possibly hurting themselves becuase no one would listen. 

“When I was diagnosed, I fainted and hit my head and ended up with a concussion. I went to the emergency room and they told me I had VS. My daughter now calls me the fainting goat,” Stewart said. 

While having VS can be overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be the end of a person’s life. Knowing what triggers an attack, staying hydrated and eating enough salt can help prevent episodes from coming on.

 Talking to others is important for people with VS to learn that they aren’t alone. Connecting with others with this condition can help them realize that this isn’t the end. 

The fainting goats of the world would be glad to know they aren’t the only ones who go out like a light. 

Contact Bridget Nye at [email protected]