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What is POTS?

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (P.O.T.S) is a form of Dysautonomia – a dysfunction of the Autonomic Nervous System. It is an invisible illness with a large variety of symptoms that can completely debilitate the sufferer.

It isn’t yet known how P.O.T.S can come about. Some believe it to be genetic, others believe it started after having a virus such as glandular fever. P.O.T.S can also be a result of another illness such as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (E.D.S).

For some the reason for having P.O.T.S is unknown and it all remains a mystery. This is highly frustrating and as a result can cause depression and anxiety as the symptoms themselves can be upsetting and at times very worrying. In others, no depression or anxiety is present yet sadly it is often the case that people get misdiagnosed as being ‘stressed’ or ‘anxious’ when that is not the case.

Variations in blood pressure (for some too high, others too low, others fluctuating between the two), palpitations, racing heart, dizziness, frequent fainting in many, pre-syncope (feeling faint/almost fainting) yet not fainting in others and chronic fatigue are only some of the many and varied symptoms of P.O.T.S.

P.O.T.S is a form of Dysautonomia- Dystautonomia is where the Autonomic Nervous System is dysfunctional. The ANS controls all the things in the body we don’t have to think about- such as fluid balance, digestion, hormone levels, metabolism, body temperature, sleep/wake cycles. When it is dysfunctional,  many problems can occur in the body. As a result of this there are so many things that can be affected from the heart, blood pressure, smell, hearing, vision, breathing, digestion and much more. This is why P.O.T.S symptoms can vary so much between one person and the next- some can’t stand without fainting, others have never fainted but have a racing heart whenever they stand. For some, digestion is affected, others the urinary system. Whilst people with P.O.T.S all have some similarities, there are also many differences, which has added to the difficulties in recognising and diagnosing the syndrome.

A very thorough account of POTs and the many symptoms it can cause can be found HERE and within this brilliant article.

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