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People prone to fainting may be at higher risk of on-the-job injuries, researchers warn

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Dallas – Workers who experience fainting spells, also known as syncope, may face a higher risk of workplace incidents and job loss, according to a recent study from the American Heart Association.

Researchers analyzed 2008 to 2012 data of more than 3.4 million adults ages 18 to 64, focusing on workers with recurrent syncope events and those without. Results showed that workers with syncope were 1.4 times more likely to experience a workplace incident and twice as likely to suffer job loss.

The incidents, often involving fractures, amputations or internal bleeding, occurred most often among manual laborers.

The researchers also found that young workers who were of lower socioeconomic standing, or who had conditions such as cardiovascular disease or depression, were at additionally high risk of workplace incidents and job loss.

“People with fainting episodes should be evaluated medically and have appropriate interventions to help them maintain their employment and keep safe at work,” Anna-Karin Numé, MD and lead study author, said in an April 18 press release. “In general, syncope can be managed, and workplace risks might be managed by a change in job duties, such as avoidance of operating heavy equipment.”

The researchers acknowledged various study limitations, including insufficient information about work environments, health behaviors and circumstances of syncope.

The study was published online April 18 in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

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