What Do You Know About POTS? It’s Not All In Your Head

Amy Schaeffer - Author
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Jan. 21 2017, Updated 2:23 p.m. ET

It’s likely that many have not heard of POTS syndrome, but if you are living with it, you know the realities of the condition all too well. Many people are still seeking answers and have not yet been diagnosed, but POTS is gaining recognition, and as more physicians understand the etiology of the disease and its symptoms, more people are able to be identified and treated.

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Without treatment, POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) can seriously interfere with quality of life to the point where a person is unable to go to school or work and is fainting regularly, along with other terrifying symptoms. POTS is an unusual condition in which the heart rate may speed up by 30 or more beats per minute with minimal change in blood pressure. Such an increase in heart rate usually means that one’s cardiovascular system is working desperately to maintain blood pressure and blood flow to the brain. When that fails to occur, sweating, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and fainting can occur. According to the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network, POTS affects about 500,000 Americans (although the number of undiagnosed cases may be many more) and most of the individuals affected are women under age 35. However, that doesn’t mean men can’t be affected, and therefore being a male and having this syndrome may make it ever more difficult to get a proper diagnosis and treatment, as many physicians may consider it a female’s disease.

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