Study shows frequent changing of position at Mass can cause fainting
The changing of positions causes significant orthostatic stress.
A new study has found that attendance at Mass by elderly churchgoers could leave them more at risk of fainting.
Researchers at University Hospital Limerick found the multiple sudden changes in position, from sitting, to kneeling, to standing during mass can increase the chances of fainting, or what is known as syncope.
The study, published in the Irish Medical Journal, defines syncope as a transient, self-limited loss of consciousness with an inability to maintain postural tone that is followed by spontaneous recovery.
It was conducted on 110 individuals who presented to UHL after fainting, with 56.3% of these events taking place at Mass.
Conducted by the Department of Aging and Therapeutics in UHL, the study found the short bouts of sitting, standing and kneeling at Mass can cause a lowering of blood pressure, called orthostatic hypotension, which causes people to briefly lose consciousness.
As part of the study, researchers found there was an average of 15 different movements in Mass, which lasted an average duration of 34 minutes. Some services, such as weddings and funerals, lasted longer and had increasing numbers of movements.
The study recommended that consideration be given as to whether it is safe for older Mass goers to be subjected to such significant orthostatic stress.