Welcome back to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast! Do you know what POTS is? I didn’t know either until earlier this year, and my life has not been the same ever since. Let me tell you one thing, we are NOT talking about something that holds plants and something you cook spaghetti in. This episode is all about Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, also called POTS for short.
Why? Because October is Dysautonomia Awareness month and because I have recently been diagnosed with POTS. This episode is aimed at educating you about POTS and also addresses my own experience of being diagnosed with a chronic medical condition. It has been an emotional ride, and my hope is to share with you a few tools that have helped me to manage this news and the ongoing treatment that I will need to adhere to. Thank you so much for supporting me this year. Your messages and kindness has been overwhelmingly positive and I am so grateful for you all.
So, what is POTS? Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a condition that affects circulation (blood flow). Basically, for most people, our autonomic nervous system works to control and regulate our vital bodily functions and our sympathetic nervous system, which activates the fight or flight response.
However, if you have POTS you have what is called orthostatic intolerance. What this means is that when standing up from a reclining position, blood pools in the legs causing lightheadedness, fainting, and an uncomfortable, rapid increase in heartbeat. People with POTS have trouble regulating the blood vessel squeeze and heart rate response causing blood pressure to be unsteady and unstable.
Each case of POTS is different. Patients may see symptoms come and go over a period of years. In my case, I have probably had it my whole adult life, but it has worsened enough to need medical attention. In most cases, with proper adjustments in diet, medications and physical activity, a person with POTS will see an improvement in quality of life.
People with POTS usually suffer from two or more of the many symptoms listed below.
• High/low blood pressure
• High/low heart rate; racing heart rate
• Chest pain
• Dizziness/lightheadedness especially in standing up, prolonged standing in one position, or long walks
• Fainting or near-fainting
• Abdominal pain and bloating, nausea
• Temperature deregulation (hot or cold)
• Nervous, jittery feeling
• Forgetfulness and trouble focusing (brain fog)
• Blurred vision
• Headaches and body pain/aches (may feel flu-like); neck pain
• Insomnia and frequent awakenings from sleep, chest pain and racing heart rate during sleep, excessive sweating
• Shakiness/tremors especially with adrenaline surges
• Discoloration of feet and hands
• Exercise intolerance
• Excessive or lack of sweating
• Diarrhea and/or constipation
Please go to the below website for more information on POTS