Dysautonomia & POTS: Facts, Symptoms & More

Dysautonomia & POTS: Facts, Symptoms & More

What is Dysautonomia?

Dysautonomia is a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which controls every body function without us consciously having to think about it, such as:-

  • Heart rate,
  • Blood pressure,
  • Breathing,
  • Temperature and
  • Digestion.

There are different types of dysautonomia, one of which is postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).

 

What is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS)?

Normally when you go from laying down or sitting to standing, your heart rate goes up by 5-10 beats per minute.  When you stand up gravity causes blood to fall down to the legs. The autonomic nervous system responds by narrowing the blood vessels to get blood flowing back up to the heart and brain.

However, for people with POTS, the autonomic nervous system doesn’t work correctly. The blood vessels don’t narrow causing blood to pool in the legs. To compensate for this, the heart beats faster to try to increase blood flow back up the body.

For a POTS diagnosis, a person’s heart rate increases by:-

  • At least 30 beats per minute, or
  • Increases to over 120 beats per minute, within 10 minutes of standing up
  • These criteria do not apply if someone has a low resting heart rate.

 

What are the symptoms of dysautonomia/POTS?

Dysautonomia and POTS affects every body function. The reduced blood flow back to the heart and brain can cause numerous debilitating symptoms throughout the whole body. These can severely reduce people’s quality of life, potentially leaving them:-

  • Bedbound,
  • Housebound,
  • Unable to work,
  • Unable to do simple everyday activities, like showering, cooking, eating, sitting upright and standing.

 

Dysautonomia/POTS Diagnosis and Treatment

Very few people have heard of POTS, including some doctors. The lack of knowledge results in patients being dismissed, misdiagnosed with anxiety and told its all in their head by medical professionals. People are also misunderstood, judged and excluded by family and friends. The average time to diagnosis is 7 years and there is currently no cure and no authorised medication that can be prescribed.  Consequently, many patients are left to do their own research into different diets, treatments and therapies to manage their symptoms.

 

my dysautonomia/POTS recovery journey

Click to read my blog posts detailing tips, activities and strategies that are helping me manage dysautonomia and POTS so far:-

 

More Information

The more people learn about dysautonomia and POTS the quicker people suffering will be diagnosed. This will allow them to receive more effective treatment and get better support from family and friends. For more information, please check out the POTS UK and Dysautonomia International websites.

If anyone has any questions about anything they have read, please ask. And if you know anyone with dysautonomia, POTS or any other illness, please keep in touch with them. A message, phone call or visit, to know we’re thought about and aren’t alone really does mean the world.

 

Contact me and Follow me on social media

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2 thoughts on “Dysautonomia & POTS: Facts, Symptoms & More”

  • This is a fantastic look at Dysautonomia and POTS, conditions that are still not that well known about within the general public, and even many docs and specialists don’t know all that much. You’ve explained things really clearly and I love the image with the labelled symptoms. xx

    • Thank you so much Caz, I really appreciate your comment 🙂 Sadly it’s so true, you have to fight for every referral as even so many doctors and medical professionals haven’t heard of dysautonomia and POTS syndrome. The only pots the general public have heard of are the pots you cook food in! xx

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