We’ve all experienced dizziness or lightheadedness after standing up too quickly. While periodic vertigo is common, if the sensation occurs frequently or becomes increasingly more severe, it may a sign of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Often referred to as POTS, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is a form of dysautonomia that affects millions of patients on a global scale (1,000,000 – 3,000,000 in America alone). The syndrome is characterized by a lack of blood returning to the heart after someone stands which, beyond intense dizziness, also triggers a multitude of other potential symptoms. Blurred vision, heart palpitations, exhaustion, weakness, anxiety, and shortness of breath are just some of the many possible indicators of POTS.
As with any medical condition, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for managing POTS symptoms. However, knowing a few key tactics can help prevent the chance of an episode.
Increase Fluid And Salt Consumption
Consistently consuming 8-10 cups of water every day can reduce POTS’ impact on a patient. Beyond elevating overall fluid intake, you may also want to habitually drink water before getting out of bed. Additionally, many doctors recommend increasing salt consumption (generally to 3,000 mg to 10,000 mg per day) to help raise blood volume, which is typically low in POTS patients. Physicians will recommend different amounts of sodium based on the individual patient, as those with high blood pressure should not increase salt intake.
Use Compression Garments
Compression hose may help blood flow return to the heart after prolonged periods of lying down. These garments may prove cost prohibitive, making it essential to ask your doctor for a prescription if possible.
Keep Head Elevated
Keeping your head above your heart when lying down can regulate proper blood flow and condition your body to orthostatic stress.
Improving your overall physical activity levels can play a significant role in managing POTS symptoms. Simple yoga, basic stretches – even increasing the number of steps you take on a daily basis may prevent a POTS event. Swimming also naturally compresses your blood cells, making it an excellent way to increase activity routines without additional risk. Your healthcare provider will be able to help you create an exercise plan that best suits your specific fitness levels.
Adjust Food Routines
Large meals can redirect blood flow to the intestines to aid in digestion, resulting in a lower blood volume in other parts of the body. Many find that eating several smaller meals throughout the day can minimize a POTS flare-up.
If you’re suffering from frequent POTS symptoms, consult with Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center to discuss testing and next steps.