Most of us have never heard of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome or in short “POTS” as insiders familiar with this condition would call it. If you would like to know what this condition is and what it has to do with compression stockings keep reading. We promise to keep it short and sweet.
What is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?
In medical terms, POTS it is one of the disorders that are characterized by orthostatic intolerance (OI) as their main symptom. This means that individuals affected by postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome have serious difficulties simply standing up – something most people take for granted without even thinking about it.
People with POTS experience faintness or lightheadedness when a markedly reduced volume of blood returns to the heart after standing up from a lying position. In addition, the person also experiences a rapid increase of their heartbeat (by more than 30 beats/minute) above 120 beats per minute shortly after standing up. The feeling of faintness or lightheadedness can be relieved by lying down again.
The medical field has not determined with absolute certainty the exact causes of orthostatic intolerance (OI) or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). The current opinion is that these conditions are the result of abnormalities in the parts of the nervous system that are responsible for regulating muscle tone, vascular tone, heart rate and blood pressure upon standing.
Who can be affected by POTS?
People of all ages can be afflicted by postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Nevertheless, the main group suffering from POTS is women between 15 and 50 years of age. It often seems to start after a surgery, viral illness, some type of trauma or even after pregnancy. Teenagers can develop POTS during periods of accelerated growth, whereby most of them (70-80%) will be free of symptoms after reaching adulthood. This debilitating condition can also make individuals incapable to perform exercise activity because it can trigger fainting or dizziness attacks.
What are the Treatment Options for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?
Unfortunately no single treatment approach has been effective across the board. Therapy and treatments for POTS are aimed at eliminating low blood volumes and addressing circulatory problems. The treatment options include
- Adding salt to one’s diet
- Avoiding heavy meals
- Avoiding alcohol
- Sleeping with the head of one’s bed elevated
- Wearing compression or support stockings to narrow blood vessels for improved venous blood flow
- Drinking 16 ounces of water (2 glasses full) before getting up to help raise blood pressure
- Taking prescription drugs to increase blood volume and narrow blood vessels
The symptoms of POTS may come and go for many years. However, research shows that most individuals will eventually improve to a point where they become functional enough to stand up with significantly decreased symptoms.
All posts on this blog are for reference only and must not be used to determine treatment for specific medical conditions. Only your healthcare provider is qualified to do that. Never ignore professional medical advice or delay in seeking it! Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider to answer any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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