Difference Between Fainting and Seizure

The terms fainting and seizure share some primary symptoms. People frequently confuse the two because both involve passing out and being unable to move.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Fainting results from a temporary loss of consciousness due to inadequate blood flow to the brain; seizures result from an abnormal electrical activity.
  2. Fainting is generally harmless and self-correcting; seizures can be a symptom of a neurological disorder.
  3. Fainting may involve a brief period of unconsciousness; seizures can involve convulsions, muscle spasms, or altered behavior.

Fainting vs. Seizure

The difference between fainting and seizure is that the former is caused due to the insufficient supply of blood to the brain. In contrast, the latter is caused due to electrical disturbances in the brain.

Fainting vs Seizure

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Fainting, clinically known as syncope, occurs when the blood supply to the brain drops drastically. It involves the loss of consciousness.

Seizures, also called convulsions at times, cause symptoms such as loss of consciousness and changes in body language and behavior. Attacks occur when there is an imbalance of electrical signals sent to the brain, and disturbances occur.


Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonFaintingSeizure
DefinitionFainting can be described as passing out due to insufficient blood supply to the brain.When a person passes out and there is a sudden change in movement and behavior, it is called a seizure.
CausesIt is caused due to a sudden drop in heart rate, blood pressure, or irregular blood circulation.It is caused by an imbalance of electrical signals sent to the brain, and disturbances occur.
SymptomsThe symptoms of fainting include loss of consciousness, unable to respond to stimuli, and blacking out.The seizure symptoms include passing out, convulsions, drooling, and abnormal behavior and motor functioning.
Time it lastsGenerally, after a person faints, they can recover within a minute if there is no severe damage.Seizures can be severe if the patient is not tended to immediately and can last longer than a minute.
Instructions to helpIf a person faints, sit them down or lie on a bed to check whether their pulse is stable.Lie the patient on the ground, do not restrain or put anything in their mouth, and wait.


What is Fainting?

When we see a person lose consciousness suddenly and for no apparent reason, we describe it merely as fainting or passing out. In medicine, the clinical term for such a condition is “syncope.”

There are a few causes for why a person faints, such as –

  1. A sudden drop in the heart rate could occur due to straining oneself with some form of exercise or activity.
  2. A drop in blood pressure caused due to poor health conditions or a considerable amount of stress.
  3. Insufficient supply of blood to the brain.
  4. Irregular circulation of blood to the other parts of the body.

It is easy to identify if a person has fainted through various symptoms that might describe their behavior. They are as follows –

  1. Loss of consciousness or passing out.
  2. Blurred vision.
  3. Unable to control the body or not respond to stimulus
  4. Dizziness.
  5. Nausea
  6. Cold sweats

Once a person faints, it usually lasts for a minute or less unless they have been injured. Some steps can be taken to help the person, such as lying on the floor or sitting down and checking their pulse rate.


What is Seizure?

When a person blacks out and undergo irregular changes in their body language, we can classify it as a seizure. We also see booty to be interchangeable with “convulsions.”

There are several reasons why a person might suffer from a seizure, such as.

  1. Electrical disturbances in the brain or electric shock.
  2. Congenital brain defects.
  3. Drug abuse
  4. Brain injuries
  5. Brain infections

If a person is prone to or tends to have regular and recurrent seizures, that person is said to have epilepsy. There are a few symptoms to identify whether a person is undergoing an attack, such as–

  1. Blacking out
  2. Uncontrollable shaking
  3. Irregular contraction and relaxation of muscles
  4. Convulsions
  5. Drooling

Seizures are sometimes very severe and can happen spontaneously at any moment. These can last longer than a minute at times.

Due to their severity, one must immediately tend to a person suffering from a seizure by lying them down on the floor and not restricting them. One must wait for the attack to pass and call for medical help.


Main Differences Between Fainting and Seizure

  1. Fainting occurs when a person does not receive sufficient blood to their brain and passes out. Seizures occur due to electrical disturbances in the brain and blackouts.
  2. Fainting can be caused due to a drop in blood pressure or heart rate. Seizures can be caused due to brain damage, drug abuse, or electric shock.
  3. Symptoms of fainting involve passing out, nausea, and dizziness, while seizure symptoms include convulsions, drooling, and uncontrollable shaking.
  4. When a person faints, it lasts for a minute or less, while a seizure might last longer than a minute.
  5. A person who has fainted should be made to sit down and check for any injury and pulse rate. A person suffering a seizure must be made to lie down and ensure they are not restricted or near any sharp objects.
Difference Between Fainting and Seizure

  1. https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/12642914
  2. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.017308
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