Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a form of dysautonomia. The diagnostic criteria focus on an abnormal heart rate increase upon standing, often associated by a drop in blood pressure.
Many POTS patients also experience fatigue, headaches, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, exercise intolerance, nausea, difficulty concentrating, shaking, fainting, coldness in the extremities, shortness of breath and chest pain. POTS patients are often misdiagnosed as having severe anxiety or panic disorder.
POTS Has Multiple Names
The term POTS was coined by Mayo Clinic researchers in 1993. It has been known by other names including, dysautonomia, mitral valve prolapse syndrome, neurocirculatory asthenia, orthostatic intolerance, and orthostatic tachycardia. POTS can strike any gender and any age but approximately 75% of patients are female.
The most common treatments for POTS include increasing fluid intake to 2-3 liters per day; increasing salt intake to 4,000 to 10,000 mg per day, wearing compression stockings, reclined exercises, and medications. Medications used include, fludrocortisone, midodrine, beta blockers, pyridostigmine, bezodiazepines, SSRI’s and octreotide.