Saturday, October 9, 2010


One reason why POTS is so difficult to diagnose is due to the excessive amount of symptoms that patients experience.  Doctors automatically jump to the conclusion that you are a hypochondriac or crazy when you hand them a list that looks like this.  I know this from personal experience.  I promise, if you experience any/all of these symptoms, you are NOT crazy.  The conditions in blue are symptoms that I do not experience:

Fainting or near fainting (can occur when standing, sitting, or laying down)
General weakness/Fatigue
Loss of sweating
Excessive sweating- (you can experience both excessive and loss of sweating.  Certain areas of my body will no longer sweat, but when I am sleeping, the back of my knees are soaking wet)
Delayed gastric emptying
Bloating after meals
Abdominal pain
Constipation or diarrhea
Excessive urination
Blurred or tunnel vision, floaters
Chest Pain/Palpitations
Shortness of breath
Sleep disorders (un-refreshing sleep or nightmares)
Anxiety (Probably due to never knowing when symptoms will arise)
Blood pooling in limbs- causes legs feel heavy and appear purple
Intolerance to heat- exacerbates symptoms
Feeling cold all over- especially in hands and feet because of blood pooling
Low blood pressure upon standing
Cognitive impairment-  difficulties with concentration, brain fog, memory and word recall
Low blood volume
Numbness or tingling sensations
Aching neck and shoulders- from reduced flow of cerebrospinal fluid
Noise sensitivity- Certain noises can activate episodes
Light Sensitivity
Sensitivities to certain smells
Arrhythmias- irregular heart beats.  A feeling of fluttering in your chest.
Chemical sensitivities
Feeling full quickly
Food allergies/sensitivities- White sugars/carbohydrates work quickly, but make symptoms worse when you experience a sugar crash.
Hyperreflexia- aka double jointed.  May be related to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
Irregular menstrual cycles
Loss of appetite
Excessive thirst- normally associated with increased urination, since your body is outputting all of your fluids.
Weight loss or gain
Feeling detached from surroundings
Restless leg syndrome- can come from the blood pooling in the legs

These symptoms can vary not only from day to day, but minute to minute.  You never know when a seemingly "good day" can take a turn for the worse.  A "bad day" generally doesn't turn around.  On these days it is important to not overexert one's self, because being in an upright position will exacerbate symptoms.  This can seem daunting, but just remember that tomorrow is a completely different day and you will feel better.  Optimism is the most important thing!

I'd love to hear your comments!

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