POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)
Known formally as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, POTs affects functions of the central nervous system including blood flow, heart rate & blood pressure. We first learned of this condition in 2011 after several Rejuva customers reached out seeking compression to help them manage their symptoms. In addition to being intrigued by the unique description of symptoms, we were also curious to learn most of these patients were young women.
What is amazing is that the simple act of standing is the result of a series of changes that occur within the body. As you stand, your carefully tuned cardiac system automatically adjusts to the changing pull of gravity by increasing the heart rate, contracting blood vessels, and balancing blood pressure to ensure you stand up with ease. For some, this is not so easy and certain disorders affect the body’s ability to do this. When the body can’t easily adjust to this new upright position, it is called orthostatic intolerance. As the body changes position, it will typically adjust for the change in gravity and in simple terms “recalibrate” to a standing position. When orthostatic intolerance is at play, the body’s heart rate increases to keep up with the change in gravity, sometimes causing a drop in blood pressure. With these quick changes comes the risk of shortness of breath, blurred vision, and even fainting. A scary encounter if you ask us!
While a direct cause of POTs is still unknown, research has narrowed down the risk factors. Currently the condition is seen throughout individuals in their teens (14+) to their mid-forties, and it is more likely to affect the women in your life.
The symptoms are pretty aligned with what you would expect to experience if your heart all the sudden thought it was running a marathon when all you did was standup. Here is a quick rundown of the most popular symptoms:
- Extreme Tiredness / Fatigue / Weakness
- Palpitations (violent heart beating)
- Shortness of breath and anxiety
- Blurred Vision and poor concentration
Since the cause of POTs is not entirely known, treatment approaches are different for each individual. We have heard of some remedies that work wonders for one person, while the next finds a completely different solution for same issue at hand. So while it is important to remember to find the best approach, we have listed a couple tips that seem to be helpful with most:
- Engage in light to moderate exercise that increases leg strength & core muscles.
- Wear compression garments to help direct blood back to the heart.
- Increase fluid and salt intake to support improved circulation.
- Eat smaller meals so the digestive tract doesn’t have to work overtime.
Above all, listening to the body’s needs, whether it is for more sleep or a new routine, is the best practice. Hope to learn more? We found these websites have a ton of added info & resources related to POTs!
- Dysautonomia International http://www.dysautonomiainternational.org
- Dysautonomia Information Network: http://www.dinet.org
Lastly, we admit we are not experts in the POTs field, but we sure do know a lot about compression. We've spoken to many POTsies who've shared with us their stories along with tips regarding what works best for them. We love sharing & tapping into these personal anecdotes for others who call & report similar symptoms or experiences.
Generally 20-30 mmHg compression is recommended for POTs, but some people require 15-20 mmHg. Talk with your doctor to discuss what is best for you. If we can help with finding a specific garment on our site, or if you need some help with determining the best size, just let us know. It's truly an honor (and fun!) to help.