Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, better known by the zebra community as POTS, is a complex and difficult disorder to live with. POTS is a form of Dysautonomia. The autonomic system controls our involuntary actions such as breathing, heartbeat, body temperature regulation, and so forth.
Dysautonomia is the dysregulation of these functions. The body can't regulate these actions properly which can cause all kinds of problems and symptoms. The autonomic system is also responsible for circulating the blood around the body to all the organs and tissues. POTS patients have a dysfunction in this system.
When a POTS patient changes their "posture" by standing, this causes blood to drain from their head. As a result, because their heart can't keep their blood pressure high enough to compensate like it is supposed to. As a result, this causes the person to become lightheaded, and sometimes pass out due to lack of blood flow to their brain.
The body tries to compensate by raising the heart rate excessively, which causes the body to use too much energy inefficiently, and then the brain "pumps the brakes" to slow it down, and it has a yo-yo effect. As a result, this is very inefficient and exhausting. Sitting or lying down corrects this.
Because of this autonomic dysfunction, it makes things that most people take for granted very difficult. Such activities as walking, showering, going out on the town, and being intimate can be very difficult to do. This disease is more prevalent in women than men, however, in the EDS community, it is about equal. Ehlers Danlos is not the only cause of POTS. And there are several types of POTS.
There is Secondary POTS, Hyper-Adrenergic POTS, & Neuropathic POTS. Each has is own unique presentation of symptoms, and the root cause of each type is can be unique as well. Secondary POTS is self-explanatory, it is the secondary result of another condition.
The causes of Secondary POTS are:
~Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (All Types)
~Hughes Syndrome (Sticky Bloody)
~Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes
~Charcot Marie Tooth Disease
~Mast Cell Diseases
~Alchohol, Heavy Metal, Drug Toxicity
~Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
These may not be all the causes for Secondary POTS, but they are the most well documented.
Neuropathic POTS is the result of the nerve pathways to the lower part of the body being compromised. As a result, blood tends to pools in the legs. Since the blood stays in the legs, it cannot reach the brain efficiently and this causes the patient to pass out or experience dizziness or lightheadedness.
And lastly, there is Hyper-Adrenergic POTS. This is an excess of adrenaline and norepinephrine in the body. As a result, these patients have a tendency to have a higher heart rate when standing while having a low BP.