POT Syndrome - Symptoms

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What is postural tachycardia syndrome?

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is one of a group of disorders that have orthostatic intolerance (OI) as their primary symptom. OI describes a condition in which an excessively reduced volume of blood returns to the heart after an individual stands up from a lying down position. The primary symptom of OI is lightheadedness or fainting. In POTS, the lightheadedness or fainting is also accompanied by a rapid increase in heartbeat of more than 30 beats per minute, or a heart rate that exceeds 120 beats per minute, within 10 minutes of rising. The faintness or lightheadedness of POTS are relieved by lying down again. Anyone at any age can develop POTS, but the majority of individuals affected (between 75 and 80 percent) are women between the ages of 15 to 50 years of age. Some women report an increase in episodes of POTS right before their menstrual periods. POTS often begins after a pregnancy, major surgery, trauma, or a viral illness. It may make individuals unable to exercise because the activity brings on fainting spells or dizziness.

Doctors aren't sure yet what causes the reduced return of blood to the heart that occurs in OI, or why the heart begins to beat so rapidly in POTS. Current thinking is that there are a number of mechanisms. Some patients have peripheral denervation (neuropathic POTS); some have symptoms that are due to sustained or parosyxmal overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system (hyperadrenergic POTS); and some individuals have PTOS dominated by features of deconditioning.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: LIS., 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 22

My symptoms are feeling faint, not being able to stand for long, dizzy, feeling unwell, and dry mouth all the time. I am feeling my heart beat in my throat and head worse when I stand, and low blood pressure. I have high heartbeat, worse when standing, and when exerting myself, I have pain in the chest and feeling of tightness as if something is sitting on me. Sometimes these symptoms last for several days and I am unable to function properly. I had an episode while on holidays and was hospitalized and had several tests. I have been diagnosed with vasovagal syncope.

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Comment from: jobe, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 07

I was diagnosed with POTS several years ago. My symptoms included chest pain, severe fatigue and dizziness with feeling light headed. Every day was a struggle. I went through several doctors before being diagnosed and had cardiac problems which worsened. However, I started to do meditation (transcendental meditation) which I had learned when I was fourteen, but stopped when I got older. Initially, it did not make much of a difference but over a period of 6 months, I noticed that my symptoms slowly disappeared. It seemed to regulate my blood pressure. I still have an occasional chest pain and dizzy spell but not on a daily basis as previously.

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