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Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a heart condition which many people don’t know much about. Because it isn’t as widely known as it should be, there are people in the country who have the symptoms but aren’t able to connect the dots and see a specialist for diagnosis.
At OneWelbeck, we meet with individuals who may have POTS and carry out necessary tests to see if indeed they have the syndrome. In this short blog post, we’ll be looking at the symptoms of POTS, why it happens, how it is tested, and what a diagnosis means for someone.
What is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)?
POTS is an abnormality of the involuntary nervous system. When a person stands ups, blood vessels will contract to combat the force of gravity and increase heart rate to keep blood pumping without any problems to the chest and head.
When this contraction doesn’t happen, the heart can overcompensate and cause a spike in heart rate when it doesn’t necessarily need to. That alters blood flow to the brain.
What are the Main Signs Someone has POTS?
If someone standing up continually feels light-headed, and they only get a sense of relief by sitting or lying down, it’s a sign their body is under some form of stress and may have POTS.
What are the Symptoms of POTS?
There are many symptoms which act as indicators for POTS. These can include:
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of breath
- Lapse in concentration when getting up
It is essential to know that someone with a few of these symptoms won’t necessarily have POTS. It’s important someone experiencing these symptoms regularly visits their doctor and has some tests carried out so other conditions can be ruled out.
What are Some Lesser-Known Symptoms Which may go Unnoticed?
With POTS being associated with so many different symptoms, some common symptoms which go unnoticed include a lack of sleep, gut problems (which sometimes get misdiagnosed as IBS), tiredness and bladder problems.
Can Pre-Existing Conditions Cause POTS?
For most people, a diagnosis will be a bit of a surprise as they wouldn’t have any indicators beforehand, and most of the causes are unknown.
There are some pre-existing conditions which can act as a contributing factor. These include:
- Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Overproduction of Noradrenaline (from faulty genes)
Does Standing up Trigger POTS?
It does, but there are other contributing factors which also act on symptoms. Dehydration and drinking alcohol can exacerbate POTS symptoms, as can getting up too quickly in the morning.
How is Someone Tested for POTS?
Someone will be required to take some tests after being referred to a specialist, like the clinic we have here at OneWelbeck.
Tests used to diagnose POTS include:
- Blood tests
- Having blood pressure and heart rate monitored for a day
- Active stand test
- Tilt table test
Doctors will also carry out checks on heart rate increases when sitting and standing several times.
How is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome Treated?
Patients need management in place to address symptoms when an episode occurs. In most instances, it will be the case of needing to counter the fall in blood flow by lying down with legs raised.
In terms of medicines, beta-blockers and midodrine are commonly used.
Want to Find Out More About Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?
Get to know everything about POTS, its symptoms, and how it is treated at OneWelbeck by clicking here.
Learn More About Cardiac Investigation
Does anything mentioned in this post sound familiar to you?
OneWelbeck has a specialist heart health clinic which can help anyone get tested for POTs.
If you would like to know more, please contact us here.