Super Bowl winning quarterback and MVP Nick Foles is widely known for his accomplishments on the football field. Lesser known is his work to gain awareness and further the research for treatment of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, known as POTS. Sometimes called “the most common condition you’ve never heard of”, Foles’ wife Tori suffers from POTS and watching her struggle with the condition moved Nick to act. He has even dedicated chapter in his new book, “Believe It”, to Tori and POTS.
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is a form of dystautonomia, or a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) function that involves failure of the sympathetic or parasympathetic components of the ANS. Affecting between one and three million Americans, and millions more across the globe, POTS is relatively new in the medical community and as such, can be misunderstood by nearly everyone. Often called the “invisible disease”, it is difficult to diagnose. The hallmark symptoms of POTS include Orthostasis, which is the sensation of dizziness upon standing, and tachycardia or fast heart rate. The definition typically used for POTS is symptoms on standing, accompanied by an increase in heart rate of 30 beats per minute within 10 minutes of standing. Although there may be a sensation of fainting, most POTS patients don’t pass out.
In the case of Tori Foles, Nick’s college sweetheart who he married in 2014, her diagnosis came at the age of 23 and her experience was not unlike many others that suffer from POTS. In fact, eighty percent of POTS patients are women and roughly half are young and healthy when the condition begins to show. Because of that, and the symptoms which can represent many other conditions, POTS is often misdiagnosed. Tori discusses her initial doctor visits on her blog:
“After the tests came back, I received a call that everything looked good. My iron looked a little low, and that was about it. So why did I feel this way? I went back to the doctor a few days later still complaining of the same symptoms and this time the doctor attributed it to stress, anxiety, and possible depression. He recommended I see an infectious disease specialist to make sure there was not some sort of infection, but he doubted it. Days later I saw the infectious disease specialist and I came in asking about Lyme Disease because I had heard it could be common in the Northwest. She took a Western Blott which came up and then suggested that I definitely could be dealing with anxiety and depression. I was so confused. I had never had depression before, so for a second I honestly believed her. I was thinking, is this what depression feels like? Do you feel tired and do you nearly faint? Do you feel nauseous and sick? Maybe some do, but this was not the case for me.”
After additional testing, and about six weeks later, the POTS diagnosis came to light. Still, in relation to other patients’ experiences, that was a quicker route to the proper diagnosis. The largest survey on POTS to date, done by Vanderbilt and the University of Calgary, found most people saw an average of seven different doctors over an average of four years before getting a POTS diagnosis. As bad as those statistics sound, it’s better today than a decade ago.
As the research into POTS continues, doctors, patients and activists are gaining ground. Support groups, medical advisory boards, scientists and more are bringing attention to the condition and new and improved avenues for treatment. There are many drug-free options for care today. Diet, exercise, compression devices and other factors can help improve symptoms. Care plans based in Chiropractic Neurology have led to patient success in cases where even getting a diagnosis was difficult.
As with any medical condition, successful treatment must be tailored to the patient’s needs. As each person is different, conditions such as POTS present differently and having a skilled doctor who is well-versed in tailoring care plans to patients needs. The team at Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center has been successfully treating patients with POTS for years. Their vast experience with rehabbing autonomic balance has restored optimal well-being and quality of life to many patients. Are you or someone you love suffering from POTS? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.