Chloe is a POTS patient, and her brother Brit, sums up POTS quite perfectly in his rendition of “Timber” by Pitbull and Ke$ha. “She’s going down, She’s feeling POTSie, She cannot move, She will pass out, Sleeps through the night, She won’t remember, Get her some salt, She’ll rise again….”
Imagine going about you day and all of a sudden you can’t see, or hear, while feeling like you have just run a marathon. At any given moment, a patient with POTS can start to feel like this. POTS, known as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, is a condition in which blood pools in the abdomen and extremities. This pooling causes a person to experience lightheadedness, nausea, dizziness, and fainting (syncope) as the heart cannot pump enough blood to the brain when the person stands up. Like Brit describes, these episodes can be quite scary, and worse, since there is not enough blood flow to the brain, some patients do not remember the episode.
Since there are a wide variety of symptoms that are often unpredictable, most patients have to advocate for a diagnosis of POTS. While this is understandable, it should not be acceptable in the medical field for long. As POTS and its family of conditions known as Dysautonomia, education for both patients and doctors is crucial. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a malfunctioning Autonomic Nervous System are. With some of the most crucial life sustaining educating both doctors and patients on some of the signs and symptoms are. According to Dysautonomia International, these are some of the symptoms patients may experience:
- Exercise intolerance
- Severe Fatigue
- Visual blurring or temporary blindness
- Loss of balance
- Shortness of breath
- Mental Fogginess
While these are only some of the symptoms, seeing a POTS specialist, or an electrophysiologist is recommended for those who are looking for a diagnosis.
Do you already have a POTS diagnosis? While it can be a life changing condition, there are many ways to cope and accommodate your lifestyle. Some people find cooling vests, and an increase in salt helpful, others who are more severe need wheel chair assistance and prescription medication. Since there is not a lot known about the disease or what specifically causes or triggers it, it is important to know that you are not alone. Both Dysautonomia International and Facebook have support groups with many leading advocates for POTS and its accompanying disorders. By joining one you can learn more about what might help and maybe even educate your health care professional.
This article was written by Katie Moore, a writer for dusk magazine.