There are some diseases or medical conditions which are very much common yet not very much known or discussed or highlighted. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is one such common yet rarely known medical condition which affects around one million of Americans today. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is actually a form of dysautonomia which is an umbrella form used to describe about a medical condition which is actually a group of various disorders of the autonomic nervous system affecting a great number of people in the world. In this current article we will discuss about this rarely known yet most common health condition called the POTS or Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Statistics Related to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome:

Here below are some of the statistics linked to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

  • About one teen in hundred suffers from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome
  • 1 in 3 Americans do have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.
  • There are about 70 millions of Americans who have POTS or the Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome
  • Of all the patients with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome in America, about 85% are females and from age group 12 to 50 years.
  • 20% of the patients with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome have evidences of cardiac autonomic neuropathy and 50% of them have evidences of submotor neuropathy.

Understanding Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome to its Depth:

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is one of the common medical conditions and is actually one of a group of disorders having orthostatic intolerance or OI as their primary symptoms which leads to fainting or light-headedness. Orthostatic intolerance refers to a condition where an excessively reduced blood content returns to the heart as soon as the patient stands up from a lying down position. This is further accompanied by rapid heart beat and various other signs & symptoms to be studied in the following paragraphs.

Types of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome:

There are mainly two known types of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. They are:

  1. Neutrally mediated
  2. Hyperadrenergic type of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

Though both of these Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome form share similar symptoms, i.e. an increase of 30 or more BPM while standing up; yet the hyperadrenergic form is linked to increased amount of catecholamines which increases the blood pressure upon standing from a lying down position.

Signs & Symptoms of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome:

Listed below are the signs & symptoms of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

  • The primary sign which depicts Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is fainting or light-headedness while standing up from a supine position.
  • An increase in heart rate from more than 30 heart beat per minute to more than 120 beats per minute within 10 minutes
  • Abdominal irregularities
  • Headache, nausea, fatigue etc are some of the common symptoms of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.
  • Postural tachycardia with light-headedness
  • Sweating, anxiety, tremor, palpitation etc are some symptoms of POTS
  • Patients with POTS also show the signs of sleeping disorder and intolerance to exercises.

Associated Conditions With Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS:

There are some associated conditions for POTS which include the following.

  • Most of the people who have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome exhibit comorbid small fiber peripheral neuropathy.
  • Sometimes Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is also associated with a condition called the Vasovagal syncope where there is a malaise mediated by the vagus nerve and is one of the leading cause for fainting.
  • There are also chances that patients with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome might also suffer from conditions like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Causes for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome:

"Without a cause we have no effect". It is obvious that there are some underlying causes for the POTS or the Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Let us have a discussion on the same.

It is true that the primary causal mechanisms in Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is not properly known, however there are some evidences which suggests the following causes for POTS.

  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome may develop after any bacterial or viral infection like pneumonia, mononucleosis etc.
  • POTS may also develop in some after some kind of trauma like car accident or any serious injury
  • Women also can experience Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome symptoms at their pregnant phase or after the childbirth.
  • There are findings which suggest that low blood volume or hypovolemia can cause Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.
  • Family history of orthostatic intolerance has been found in some patients with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. This suggests that here there is a genetic inheritance linked with POTS.

Diagnosis of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome:

"One must fight for action and reaction!" And the action for curing any disease or condition begins from diagnosis. Now, when we look at the diagnosis for POTS it is pretty difficult to diagnose. However a routine physical examination and standard blood tests along with a tilt table test is important in diagnosing Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. There is a necessity of a simple blood test here so as to verify the abnormality or the higher levels of norepinephrine in the patients suffering from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS.

Treatments for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome:

"Knowing about the treatment is the prior step before going for the treatment!" If you or your known ones are diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS, it is obvious you must know about what all treatment methods are available for getting rid of the condition. Let us discuss about the same in this section of our article.

  1. Lifestyle and Dietary Changes for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome: A healthy lifestyle with proper diet is highly important in reducing or treating the symptoms of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Patients with POTS must take enough of water or other replacing fluids. It is suggested that taking about 64 ounce or 2 litres of water each day can help you reduce the symptoms greatly in Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. It is also recommended in some patients to take small meals and regular interval for eradicating the gastrointestinal issues in Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, it is also recommended in some patients to take large meals with high content of carbohydrates to reduce the symptoms like high blood pressure in POTS. Some people are also recommended to increase the salt content in their diet, though it is not prescribed for all the patients.

  2. Exercises for Treating Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome: "To every problem there is one exercise as the solution". Though exercising in some patients with POTS might be painful at times, it is reported that exercising, workouts, etc have positive impact on treating Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Doing aerobic exercises for 20 minutes at least 3 days a week is good for reducing the symptoms of POTS. You must start with low intensity exercise and for less amount of time.

  3. Medications Prescribed for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome: Now medications surely keep a great importance in treating any medical conditions. Here below we will list about certain drugs or medicines which can be taken with doctor's consultation in POTS.

    • Fludrocortisone is prescribed in POTS for improving blood volume and blood pressure in some patients
    • Beta blockers like Atenolol, Metoprolol etc are used in treating POTS
    • Midodrone is also recommended by USA FDA for treating POTS in patients.
    • Antidepressants like Prozac, Celexa etc can be used in improving the ANS and the blood pressure.

Prognosis of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome:

POTS may require some relapsing-remitting course, during which the symptoms come and go for some years. In majority of cases the symptoms in patients reduces and the patients shows improvement in the treatment procedures in most of the times.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: April 1, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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