Earlier this week I went in for my annual physical which involved a blood draw. Unfortunately, I had 'forgotten' to fast so it was a no go, but I'd mentioned to the nurse that I typically get light-headed and am not the best when it comes to needles or blood and needed to lie down.
She told me the name for my squeamishness (besides wimpy) is called vasovagal syncope -- which is a pretty common cause of fainting. While I'm not an all-out fainter, I experience all of the other symptoms of vasovagal including paleness, slight nausea, lightedheadness and claminess.
Why, I asked?
The nurse told me it's an overreaction to certain 'stresses' which causes a reduction in blood flow to the brain. She told me it was connected with the flight or fight response and is an amped up part of the survival instinct. Blood signals danger (think predator) and fainting is a way of 'playing dead.'
Haven't been able to verify that end of the story yet, but did find a pretty cool description of Vasovagal on the Mayo Clinic's Web site.
I still have to get my blood drawn this week and will update my post on what happens.
Does anyone else experience vasalvago at the sight of blood or when giving blood? If so, can you share tips of easing the 'overreaction'? Can anyone verify the 'survival' part of the story?