Symptoms of Postural Tachycardia Syndrome

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Any time the brain is getting too little blood flow, the usual result is a lightheaded or spacey feeling. Some people describe this as a “head rush.” Recurrent lightheadedness is a common symptom of Postural Tachycardia Syndrome , or POTS. If lightheadedness is severe, individuals may have dimming of their vision, may hear sounds as though they were far away, and may have nausea or vomiting. They may faint because not enough blood is getting to the brain. Fainting is helpful, in that it restores a person to the flat position, removing the effect of gravity on blood pooling in the limbs, and allowing more blood to return to the heart. Following the episodes of lightheadedness or fainting, most people feel tired for several hours (sometimes more than a day) and their thinking can be somewhat foggy. Some patients with POTS experience prolonged fatigue after a modest amount of physical activity, or after sustaining quiet activity like sitting at a desk. This fatigue after exertion or sustained activity can also last 24-72 hours, and can interfere with many daily activities. In people with POTS, a fast heart rate is a defining feature, and awareness of vigorous or skipped heart beats (palpitations) is common. In addition, patients can experience lightheadedness, intolerance of exercise, fatigue, visual blurring, weakness, imbalance, headaches, shakiness, clamminess, anxiety, shortness of breath, and mental fogginess. It has now been established that there is a substantial overlap between syndromes of orthostatic intolerance on the one hand, and either chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia (FM) on the other. It needs to be emphasized that not all those with POTS have CFS or FM, and not all with CFS or FM have POTS.
How is this treated ?
There's no cure for POTS, but various things can help with your symptoms.
Medication. Your doctor may prescribe drugs such as fludrocortisone (along with more salt and water), midodrine, phenylephrine, or a type of medicine called a beta-blocker to help with blood flow.
Compression stockings. These help push the blood up from your legs to your heart. You’ll want ones that provide at least 30-40 minutes of compression and go all the way up to your waist, or at least up to your thighs. Your doctor can prescribe a pair.
Diet. Salt and water are key. They keep fluids in your body and raise the amount of blood in your body. Think pickles, olives, nuts, and salted broths. Eat smaller meals more often with a healthy balance of protein, vegetables, fruits, and dairy.
Exercise. POTS can make it hard to be active, but even light exercise such as walking or simple yoga can help with blood flow and keep your heart healthy.
Lifestyle. Plan ahead: If you get tired easily, you may not always have the energy to take care of yourself. Learn how to take your own pulse and blood pressure. Ask your doctor what your numbers should be, and check them regularly.
Sleep. Try to stick to a sleep schedule. You also might raise the head of your bed to make it easier to stand up after lying down.
Communication. POTS can make simple activities a bit harder, and that can be frustrating and stressful. A support group or therapist may help you manage the emotional issues the condition can cause.