Understanding POTS is the first step toward finding adequate treatment and symptomatic relief.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, also known as POTS, is a condition that commonly affects the central and autonomic nervous system (ANS), leading to an abnormal sudden increase in heart rate when a person stands up. A range of symptoms, such as dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and heart palpitations, classically characterize POTS. As one can assume, it can significantly impact an individual’s daily life. 

This article aims to shed light on POTS. We will offer insights into its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and how patients can navigate life with this condition.

Symptoms of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

POTS is more than just an occasional feeling of lightheadedness upon standing. It’s a chronic condition that requires understanding and medical management. Symptoms can vary widely among patients but often include rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, and fatigue. In many cases, patients are usually dealing with other symptoms, like headaches, nausea, and digestive issues, especially when preceded by concussions and traumatic head injuries

The causes of POTS are multifaceted, usually involving genetic predisposition, autoimmunity, and sometimes, preceding bacterial or viral infections, including COVID-19. Diagnosis is a critical step, usually involving a tilt table test and a thorough medical evaluation to rule out other conditions. Sadly, most providers lack education about understanding POTS. As a result, many patients struggle with finding a proper diagnosis for their condition. 

Understanding POTS Treatment Options

While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for POTS, a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and physical therapy can help manage symptoms. Clinically, we’ve also seen POTS patients make significant gains with various forms of neurological rehabilitation like visual therapy and tilt table challenge therapies. We’re still in the beginning stages of understanding POTS. 

From a western medicine perspective, common medications like beta blockers can reduce heart rate and manage symptoms during transitional periods, but they don’t work for everyone. It’s also well established that a tailored exercise program can improve blood flow and reduce symptoms over time, but once again, caution is needed in order to allow adequate recovery and pyramidalization of exercise load to improve function without negatively affecting quality of life. 

Nutritional strategies also play a crucial role, focusing on maintaining blood volume and avoiding triggers, along with addressing underlying autoimmunities or infections, if present. Functional medicine approaches can be a highly valuable approach for patients with chronic immune dysfunction as well. An integrative treatment plan involving all of the above is usually what is best for making significant changes. 

Living with POTS: Patient Stories

Hearing from others who live with POTS can be incredibly validating and informative. In many situations, patients have found ways to manage their symptoms through lifestyle adjustments, but rarely find them right away. Common ways to improve quality of life for POTS patients include increasing salt and fluid intake, wearing compression garments, and carefully planned physical activity.

Many POTS patients have shared horror stories about their treatment and care by other providers with us. While we will never speak poorly of specific medical practices, it disheartens us to hear that many patients are told that nothing can be done for them.

In our practice, many POTS patients improve significantly with integrative care, education, and self-help through tailored therapy plans. We love helping patients help themselves once we are able to create individualized therapy plans that work. 

These personal stories highlight the importance of an integrative healthcare team and the courage to live life to the fullest with POTS. Understanding POTS is essential for moving forward. 

The Impact of Understanding POTS Effect in Daily Life

POTS can affect every aspect of a patient’s life, from work and education to social interactions and even mental health. It requires adjustments and understanding, both from the patients themselves and those around them. It also requires patients and empathy from medical providers who are working with patients with POTS. Sadly, it isn’t a very common condition being treated in the western medicine world. 

We suggest to manage POTS impact with rest, work/school adjustments, and open talks with loved ones. It’s best to be open, set boundaries, and have flexible plans as well. 

You’re Not Alone Living with POTS

Living with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is undoubtedly challenging. With the right knowledge, support, and personalized treatment plan, patients can find answers and maintain a fulfilling life. In some cases, patients do so well that they are able to resume a normal way of living their life. This should always the gold standard for care and treatment. 

It’s important to remember that you are not alone in this journey. There is a community ready to support you and providers who want to help. It’s imperative that you find experienced doctors who will support you to find the best treatment. 

*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 /