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Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome – HealthStatus

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Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS, is a somewhat rare condition that affects women more than men. It usually occurs during puberty and affects young adults and adolescents more than older adults. This syndrome is a condition that affects the circulation or flow of blood in the body. It affects the Autonomic Nervous System and sympathetic nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system is responsible for many of the vital body functions, while the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the fight or flight function in the body. Normal blood flow usually flows at the same rate. When someone has POTS, their blood flow doesn’t flow at the same rate, causing the heart rate pumps to increase 30 or more beats per minute. There are two factors that doctors look for when suspecting POTS. One of these are specific symptoms that often appear while standing. The other is that your heart rate will increase when you are lying down and then when you are standing.


Symptoms occur for one of the following reasons; decreased blood circulation, excessive accumulation of blood below the level of your heart when you are upright, or increased levels of certain hormones. Symptoms also seem to be more pronounced or worsened in the shower, when standing for long periods, with excessive stress, after eating due to digestion, or just before your period.

Symptoms of POTS are dizziness, Fainting, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, constipation, profuse sweating, brain fog, extreme tiredness, higher or lower blood pressure, fast or slow heartbeat, chest pain, insomnia, headache or shortness of breath. Not everyone will pass out with their POTS, but if you do there is a risk of fainting injury.


Doctors still aren’t sure what exactly causes postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. The syndrome can be genetic. Having someone in your family doesn’t guarantee that you will have the syndrome, too. It usually occurs during puberty or young adulthood.

There are a few things that can happen to you that will lead to the development of POTS. One of them is pregnancy. Some women can develop POTS after pregnancy.

Head Surgery, trauma, or a viral disease can also cause this syndrome. POTS can be caused by impaired nerve function, insufficient blood return to the heart, abnormal blood pressure regulation, or an increased fight or flight attack in the body.

It has been shown that there are some diseases that can have POTS as a secondary syndrome. These include anemia, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes or multiple sclerosis.


There are four different types of POTS. Neuropathic POTS, in which the small fiber nerves are damaged. Hyperadrenergic POTS in which stress hormones are increased. Hypovolemic POTS is when the blood count is abnormally low. And secondary POTS is when it is secondary to another condition.


The main way your doctor will diagnose if you have POTS is with a Tilt table Test. Where you are securely fixed on a table while testing your blood pressure and heart rate as the table tilts up and down. Your doctor will want to hear your symptoms and may suspect POTS when hearing your signs and symptoms of the syndrome.

Other tests your doctor may want to do include blood and urine tests, a test to measure the autonomic nerves that control sweating, or an echocardiogram.


There is no cure for POTS. It’s not life threatening, but it changes your life. However, treatment can help manage your symptoms.

  • Medications can be prescribed to help blood flow.
  • Compression stockings can help push blood up out of your legs to prevent blood flow from pooling under the heart.
  • A diet rich in salt and water can also be beneficial. When you stay hydrated, the amount of blood in the body increases.
  • Exercise is always good, but sometimes it can be difficult with POTS. You should learn to take your own pulse to see if your heart rate has increased too drastically.
  • Sticking to a good sleep schedule is also recommended.

POTS can make you feel excessively tired from normal daily activities. Sometimes people are too exhausted to be able to take care of themselves. It is also recommended that you have a support system in place to help you.


POTS is not a life threatening syndrome, although it can change your life. The greatest risk is injury from a fainting fall. While not everyone has the same symptoms, the most important things to look out for if you suspect POTS are dizziness or lightheadedness when standing from a seat, and an increase in heart rate when standing up. If you have any of these, you should consult your doctor.

Your target heart rate is a range of numbers that will give you the optimal heartbeats per minute you should aim for in order to exercise your heart muscle for good cardiovascular health.


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Health status team

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