Navigating POTS symptoms isn’t easy, but with a thorough understanding and education of the condition, a path toward recovery becomes more apparent with each step taken. 

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, also known as POTS, is a condition that negatively affects blood flow throughout the brain and body. It’s a syndrome that leads to an abnormal increase in heart rate when moving from lying down to a standing position. Sadly, it often manifests through a constellation of symptoms, with dizziness, confusion, and fatigue being among the most common and debilitating for patients.

Navigating POTS and Dizziness: More Than Just Feeling Light-headed

Dizziness in POTS patients isn’t merely a fleeting sensation. These symptoms cause a persistent feeling of being on the verge of fainting, often accompanied by blurred vision and disorientation. When navigating POTS symptoms, the dizziness described by patients is very different from vertigo. Sadly, most providers get these confused, complicating getting a proper diagnosis and adequate treatment.  

For POTS patients, this intermittent dizziness can significantly impact daily activities, making tasks as simple as standing up a challenge. And when dizziness is present, it can make navigating POTS symptoms difficult, as they’re rarely present in isolation. 

POTS and Fatigue: The Constant Companion of POTS Patients

Fatigue in POTS can be both profound and pervasive, affecting not just physical capabilities but cognitive functions as well. Patients describe it as feeling drained of energy and rarely having enough motivation to do basic activities. Most patients we work with state that their fatigue rarely improves with rest, making it hard to maintain standard work, school, or social activities.

This fatigue can be both neurological and immuno-inflammatory based, as navigating POTS can be a complex web of underlying autoimmunities, chronic infections, and neurophysiologic dysfunction. It’s important to emphasize that physical exercise, nutrition, proper hydration, and sleep can significantly impact POTS symptoms when given in appropriate doses. 

We’ve also seen patients significantly improve their overall health when performing vestibular and visual therapies. Interestingly enough, these systems have mutual connections to the autonomic nervous system. 

Understanding the Root Causes of POTS Symptoms

Navigating POTS symptoms isn’t a straight and narrow path. POTS extends beyond mere occasional lightheadedness when standing up; it’s a chronic disorder demanding both comprehension and clinical intervention. 

Patients may experience various symptoms, including an accelerated heart rate, dizziness, fainting, and persistent fatigue. Additionally, it’s common for individuals to suffer from headaches, nausea, and gastrointestinal problems, particularly if they have a history of concussions or traumatic injuries.

The origins of POTS are complex, often tied to genetic factors, autoimmune responses, and, occasionally, prior bacterial or viral infections, such as COVID-19. Proper diagnosis is essential, typically requiring a tilt table test and comprehensive medical examination to exclude other potential causes. 

Unfortunately, a lack of awareness about POTS among healthcare providers complicates the diagnosis process. This can leave many patients without the accurate identification and management of their symptoms.

Strategies to Manage Dizziness and Fatigue For Navigating POTS Symptoms

When navigating POTS symptoms, here are a few strategies to use: 

Stay Hydrated: Increasing fluid intake helps expand blood volume, potentially reducing dizziness.

Increase Salt Consumption: Under medical guidance, higher salt intake can help retain fluids and improve blood volume. Increasing electrolytes, in general, can have beneficial effects neurologically as well. 

Graduated Exercise Program: Starting with low-grade cardio and recumbent exercises while gradually increasing activity can help improve symptoms over time. This is best done under the supervision of a medical provider to ensure proper periodization of exercises and increasing resilience over time. 

Wear Compression Garments: Compression stockings can help prevent blood from pooling in the legs and help reduce dizziness when standing.

Medication: In some cases, doctors may prescribe medications like beta blockers to improve blood volume, regulate blood pressure, or manage heart rate. These will vary individually from person to person. 

Dietary Adjustments: Nutrition can play a prominent role in managing symptoms. Small, frequent meals can prevent postprandial hypotension, a drop in blood pressure after eating, which can exacerbate dizziness. It’s also important to be aware of any underlying food sensitivities, as these can trigger inflammatory reactions and flare-up symptoms. 

The Role of Healthcare Providers in Managing POTS

An integral part of managing POTS involves working closely with highly trained healthcare providers knowledgeable about the condition. Your provider needs to understand you structurally, neurologically, metabolically, and emotionally because POTS is a complex condition. 

Regardless of their degree or license, they should place their clinical focus on creating a personalized treatment plan. An ideal plan should address the unique manifestations of POTS for each patient, with regular follow-ups to adjust the plan as needed. 

POTS is still a relatively new condition for most traditional medicine providers. With that being said, there are highly trained doctors who have extensive experience in this field that are ready to help you find answers. 

Navigating POTS Symptoms and Finding The Right Treatment

While POTS can be challenging, many patients can eventually find strategies that significantly improve their quality of life. It’s essential to approach management with patience, as finding the right combination of strategies can take time. 

At The Neural Connection, we’re fortunate to have helped many people with POTS manage their clinical care and at-home therapies. Our goal is to always ensure the highest level of care with the latest therapies and clinical guidelines to help you help yourself outside the office. 

And if you have any questions, we’re always a phone call or consultation away! 

*Note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Patients are advised to consult their medical provider or primary care physician before trying any remedies or therapies at home.

Published On: / Categories: Dizziness, POTS, Uncategorized /