What is POTS?
POTS stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. This rare form of dysautomonia affects between 1,000,000 and 3,000,000 Americans and millions more worldwide. POTS is a condition that affects people when they change from a supine position to an upright position that results in an abnormally large increase in heart rate called tachycardia. It is characterized by the body’s inability to make the necessary adjustments to counteract gravity when standing up.
What are the signs and symptoms of POTS?
POTS symptoms can vary, but the primary symptom is lightheadedness or fainting when standing up from a seated position. The hallmark symptom of POTS is an increase in heart rate of more than 30 beats per minute or an increase to a heartrate higher than 120 beats per minute within 10 minutes of standing up.
Some other signs and symptoms of POTS include:
- Postural tachycardia (increased heartrate while standing)
- Abdominal discomfort
- Exercise Intolerance
What causes POTS?
The cause of POTS is usually unclear. Some people develop symptoms in their teenage years during periods of rapid growth, and these patients tend to see improvement as they get older.
Others might develop POTS after a viral or bacterial infection, while still others might experience symptoms of POTS after a traumatic event like a car accident or other injury. It’s also not uncommon for women to experience POTS during pregnancy and even after delivery.
How do you get diagnosed with POTS?
POTS can be difficult to diagnose. Standard testing methods, such as blood tests, cannot diagnose POTS. Tilt table tests are incredibly important when diagnosing POTS, but other conditions should be ruled out before a final diagnosis is made.
How is POTS treated?
Most POTS patients respond well to treatment of some sort. Drinking more water and avoiding situations that trigger symptoms, like standing still and getting hot, are vital for all patients.
Some other treatments can include:
- Eating small meals frequently
- Exercising and maintaining muscle strength
- Taking medications like beta-blockers
- Increasing dietary sodium intake
Why should POTS patients wear a medical ID?
Since POTS patients can experience fainting episodes, it’s very important for patients to wear a medical ID for POTS. Since a medical ID can advocate for a POTS patient when s/he cannot, it should be engraved with the diagnosis and typical symptoms, which helps first responders rule out other causes of these issues and better treat the patient.
We recommend you engrave:
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