What is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is a mal-function of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which is often referred to as an Autonomic Dysfunction.. Some other Autonomic Dysfunctions would include but are not limited to Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome . The medical industry has defined POTS as an Autonomic Dysfunction causing an excessive increase in the heart rate of 30 beats per minute or higher within a very short time of positional change and/or going from laying down to sitting up or going from sitting up to standing and is most notable during these times..This increase will usually occur within 2-10 minutes of the said positional change.. (This increase in heart rate can occur while doing nothing as well) While this definition is accurate in terms, the spectrum of this ailment far exceeds this small statement as you will soon discover. This rapid increase in heart rate is often referred to as the "signature" of Pots syndrome and is most often accompanied by a decrease or drop in blood pressure as well. This drop in blood pressure can be very gradual very fast or sudden. Note that although in most cases the blood pressure will decrease it is not a pre-requisite for the existence of pots syndrome. In fact research has shown that some sufferers of pots syndrome have little or no change at all in blood pressure. It has also been noted that for a select few individuals the blood pressure goes up rather than down. There have been no explanations to date as to why this happens. Much research and studies are still under way in efforts to learn more..
What Causes POTS?
There is NO known cause to date as to what actually causes Pots syndrome. We should understand this before trying to explain what is believed to be culprits. Let's look at the Autonomic Nervous System as a very elaborate communications system. Your brain and ANS work together constantly communicating. Messages are sent and received by electrical impulses, currents, signals, neuro transmitters and chemicals to maintain proper balance and functioning of our ANS. Heart beat, blood pressure, and ability to sweat are all controlled by the (ANS). Collectively known as Involuntary Responses. That is they do NOT require any thought process or effort on our part. They are naturally occurring processes. Unfortunately sometimes things can and do go astray within this elaborate system such as a miss-firing and/or over firing of impulses/electrical currents, false signals such as signals being sent to the wrong areas, delayed signals, blocked signals a lack of or over abundance of certain chemicals. Not to say all of this happens at once, but one, some or all of these things can happen at any given time. That is why we say that an Autonomic Dysfunction can affect all (Complete Autonomic Failure) or part of the (ANS). If and when this occurs there is a communications breakdown somewhere. This communication failure in turn can cause some serious problems such as those stated above. In the case of POTS - primarily it has affected the heart and blood pressure to some degree. The degree to which one is affected is different for every person depending on severity and diagnosis. Every case is different and unique. So I can not answer how it will affect you or any given individual. I am by no means an expert on this subject but have had my fair share in dealing and coping with POTS. Please Note that the autonomic nervous system is extremely complicated and complexed to understand making it nearly impossible to pin point exactly what has gone wrong and at what part of the (ANS). This far we have been presented with a very basic "and I emphasize the word BASIC" understanding of what has been scientifically proven and accepted by the medical industry as facts regarding the reasons believed to and/or be responsible for causing Pots Syndrome, however; there are a few other possibilities to be of significance. In some cases hereditary factors seem to play a role. While others have proven that certain underlying health conditions may be responsible (if this is the case once the underlying condition is corrected it seems that Pots is alleviated). It has been documented that the on set of POTS had occurred right after a viral infections of some type. In concluding possible causes some contend that POTS syndrome is sometimes the onset of other aliments such as shy-draggers syndrome and epsome barre syndrome. Be aware that with all this said it is highly probable for the following conditions to mimic POTS syndrome- Guillian-Barre, Lupus, Addision's Disease, and ehlers-danlos syndrome (EDS). Only upon completion of successful testing and diagnosis can these be ruled out.
What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of POTS are many. Listed here are symptom found through various sources, patient forums, Clinical studies, documentation, those reported and general research. Though you may find this list is quite comprehensive it is NOT complete meaning it might NOT include symptoms you have experienced. Moreover; because a symptom is listed here it does not mean you will have it or ever get it. Keep in mind also that many of the symptoms listed can be related to other illnesses and or conditions. The following a list of symptoms listed from the most common to the least common. (Tachycardia, Arrhythmias Anxiety, Excessive thirst, Chest pain and discomfort, Chemical sensitivities, Feeling detached, Intolerance to heat, Exercise intolerance, Extreme fatigue, Lightheadedness, Low blood pressure, Fainting or near fainting, Headaches, Impaired concentration, Light Sensitivity, Noise sensitivity, Depression, Brain fog, Tunnel vision, Disorientation, Burnout, Sleep disorders, Decreased mental stamina, Feeling "wired", Clamminess, Constipation, Loss of sweating, Excessive sweating, Numbness or tingling sensations, Shortness of breath, Bloating, Pupillary dysfunction, Vomiting, Nausea, Neuropathic pain, Diarrhea, Polydipsia, Tinnitus, Syncope (fainting)Dyspnea, Bladder Dysfunction, Low back pain, Delayed gastric emptying, Difficulty finding right words, Tremulousness, Abdominal pain or discomfort, Hyperventilation, Visual disturbances, Muscle weakness, Chills, Cold extremities, Myofascial pain, Hypovolemia, Hyperventilation, High blood pressure).
How is Pots Diagnosed?
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia is often very hard to detect do to it's ability to mimic so many other ailments. I can only be diagnosed by going though tests. There are a few tests they can run. The most comon test is the HEAD UP TILT tes. It is painless and is performed at a hospital.