Monday, 21 April 2014

What's POTS?

Today I thought I'd write a post explaining a little bit about POTS. It's a pretty unheard of condition, which means that most doctors have never even heard of it before, let alone know how to treat it.
POTS stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardic Syndrome. For me, when I change from a sitting to standing position my blood pressure plummets and my heart rate increases by about 30. The longer I stay standing up, the worse I feel. My main symptoms are: dizziness, nausea, headaches; and these lead to other symptoms like word recall problems, tremors in my hands, sleeplessness, and lots more.
The severity of POTS symptoms across sufferers varies a lot. Some people can carry on with their normal lives, and just increase salt and fluid intake to help with blood pressure. Others can't stand up without fainting within a minute. Me, I'm in between. Going to school is too much for me, so I do most of it from home, and a lot less than what my peers are doing. I've had to quit rowing and netball because both made me faint, and I now try to do recumbent biking and strength training, though it makes my symptoms flare up like crazy. My mornings start with a glass of tomato juice with an extra 3 grams of salt added, and putting on my thigh high compression stockings. I can do day to day activities for an hour maybe two, before desperately needing a rest. It's been tough, and I've had to do a lot of grieving for the life I wanted to live, but I'm one of the lucky ones. I can still look after myself, see my friends once a week, and travel extremely slowly and steadily on the road to recovery. I hope to reach my destination in 2-3 years.
So yeah. There's my explanation of how POTS directly affects my life. Here's a link to a bit more information on the actual condition, as I haven't done a very good job explaining exactly what it does. Do any of you have POTS, or have had to deal with a debilitating condition like this one? I'd love to know how you deal with it, and stay positive when it all looks so bleak.
That's it for today, hope you have a good one, and had a happy Easter! (I demolished a white chocolate egg that left me feeling really nauseous, but it was totally worth it!)

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