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Do You Have POTS Syndrome?

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Do You Have POTS Syndrome?

November 29
21:31 2017

When I first saw the articles on POTS, I misread it as POTUS, referring to the President of the United States and some physical reaction to President Donald Trump. I probably made the mistake because I write so much political commentary, but quickly realized my mistake, because what I was thinking of was POTUS.

If you are like, me, you may never have heard of POTS, but it is becoming more common in today’s society. POTS stands for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Allow me to break this down to make it easier to explain?

  • Postural means the condition is related to the posture of the body.
  • Orthostatic also suggests the body’s position is involved and refers to dizziness and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
  • Tachycardia means a rapid heartbeat, generally over 100 beats per minute.
  • Syndrome means it is not a disease but rather a group of symptoms that are often seen together.

How do you know if you are suffering from POTS? When you stand up, do you get dizzy and experience chest pains? If you check your heart rate and find that it is faster than normal but your blood pressure is lower than normal, you may have POTS.

This syndrome is classified as a dysautonomia which means it involves the part of the nervous system that controls heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.

Other symptoms of POTS include pain in your hand and feet; fatigue; constipation or diarrhea; shortness of breath; tremors or shaking; weakness; bloating; nausea; heart palpitation; extremities feel cold or painful; the ability to concentrate become difficult and an intolerance to exercise. A person with POTS may have some or any combination of symptoms, but not necessarily all of them.

Researchers are still trying to determine what causes POTS. In some people, there may be a family history which indicates there may be a genetic link, but then in others, there may be no family history at all.

Another common factor is that the majority of cases of POTS are diagnosed in women between the ages of 15 to 50, but note that it can occur in men and people of any age.

In many of the cases, especially those in women, POTS develops soon after a pregnancy, severe illness or injury, any kind of major surgery or trauma to the body. Strangely enough, it is also found to follow prolonged periods of fight-or-fright type responses, which do affect or causes changes to the heart rate.

Researchers have also identified a number of underlying conditions that have been found to occur at the same time as POTS, sometimes making it difficult to diagnose. Those conditions include diabetes and prediabetes; mononucleosis; Lyme disease; anemia; vitamin and mineral deficiencies; autoimmune disease; periods of prolonged bed rest; Epstein Barr virus and Ehlers Danlos syndrome.

Generally, people suspected of having POTS are referred to a cardiologist or neurologist who will then conduct a series of tests, which may include a tilt table test, ECG, and checking heart rate and blood pressure sitting and standing.

Since the actual cause of POTS is yet uncertain, treatment is more of a trial and error system of finding what helps and what doesn’t. Some people with POTS find that wearing compression socks or stockings helps, along with drinking more water, increasing salt consumption, sitting exercises like a stationary bike.

Some doctors may prescribe medications to help control the heart rate and blood pressure symptoms.

Since POTS is just becoming known to many in the medical world, no one is sure what kind of prognosis people with the syndrome have. Some see improvements with the medications and changes in lifestyles, however, more research needs to be done on this syndrome to find a cause and how to treat it.

In the meantime, more people are being diagnosed with the syndrome as doctors and specialists become more familiar with the mysterious syndrome known as POTS.

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