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POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)


Picture the moment you put your feet on the floor in the morning. If the transition from lying down to standing up makes you feel faint or lightheaded and your heart rate shoots up by 30-40 beats per minute (or more) within 10 minutes of rising, it doesn't just mean you're not a morning person. You might have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), one of several lesser-known disorders where too little blood gets to your heart when you go from lying down to standing. Yep—you might not have even known that can happen! Here we are, bringing the #chronicillnessfacts. Other symptoms of POTS include exhaustion/fatigue, abdominal pain, nervousness, trouble focusing, headaches, insomnia, and more. The most common types of POTS are neuropathic, hyperadrenergic, and low blood volume. No one knows what causes POTS; it could be yet another autoimmune disorder. Its symptoms, especially fatigue and anxiety, can mimic other health issues, so it’s often underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed. Women between the ages of 15 and 50 make up 75-80% of those who have POTS, though anyone can develop it at any age. It usually comes on after pregnancy, major surgery, trauma, or viral illness, and some people have more episodes right before their menstrual period. People with certain autoimmune disorders (like Sjögren syndrome and celiac disease) are at higher risk. It has also been linked to Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and chronic fatigue syndrome. Ideally, diagnosis is based on a tilt table test where your heart rate and blood pressure are measured as you alter your posture and position. Treatment options include boosting water and salt intake, careful exercise, meds, and wearing compression stockings. Although the heart itself is healthy, cardiac rehab programs can help you gain control of your symptoms. While these aren’t cures, they can make life more livable with this challenging condition. If you suspect POTS, head to a practitioner who has experience with the condition to get a diagnosis and talk about treatment options. You deserve confirmation that what you have is real and not an excuse to stay in bed (yep, some people might think that, and we can’t even get into how wrong that is!). Because POTS may have a genetic component, be sure to tell your doctor if any family members have similar complaints. You might not know your family’s entire medical history (we totally get it—it’s not like you don’t have enough going on with your own medical history), so try to talk to your family members before you head to your appointment.

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Power Over POTS: A Family Guide to Managing Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

While POTS is among one of the most common medical disorders affecting adolescents and young adults, both health care professionals and patients generally know very little about this strange condition. The majority of POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) patients suffer with mysterious and frightening symptoms while searching for a diagnosis for many years. Without a proper diagnosis, there is no possibility of treatment. Otherwise healthy appearing adolescents, primarily females, frequently report racing hearts, headaches, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, "brain fog," visual and abdominal disturbances when upright. Such symptoms play havoc on one's lifestyle by curtailing one's daily activities.Most frequently the onset of POTS symptoms coincides with the puberty growth spurt of adolescence. Adolescence is an important period of developmental change. Puberty is associated with maturing of many biological systems including sexual, brain and nervous systems. POTS can be compared to an adolescent with a newly acquired skyscraper body (tall structure) that has grown quickly – but, the building's electrical wiring system (autonomic functions) has not yet matured fully and is malfunctioning. Rapid growth spurts test the ability of an immature autonomic (automatic bodily functions) system to cope with a rapidly enlarging physical structure. The autonomic processes, by necessity, must keep making adjustments to keep up with the latest skyscraper-like growth. What worked well last year must adjust further for today's taller body. Peak incidence of POTS occurs in the 10-30 year age group.During the past 15 years, many medical centers have studied POTS patients and have determined the mechanisms responsible for this bizarre condition. The body's difficulty adjusting to the upright position has been proven to be due to gravitational shifting of blood to the lower body while upright which results in decreased heart outflow. If you or a loved one has POTS, this book is for you. Every page is packed with facts you need to know. Not only is it enlightening, it will help you take back your life and achieve POWER over POTS.

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