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Really Scared!

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I believe I have had pots symptoms for about 2 years and it has been worse some times than others and it's gotten pretty bad.

I'm a 17 year old male and I believe I have high blood pressure, but I'm not sure because I always get nervous going into the doctors office and my BP always goes up.

I had a symptom that was pretty bad today. I got up off the bed to stand up and my head felt heavy, and my pulse began to slow down and seemed like it was thumping hard in my head, then my heart rate began very rapid. But when it was thumping in my head it seemed to get worse with deep breaths and I feel like I couldn't catch my breathe.

This is the symptom I've been having mostly lately. otherwise I just feel lightheaded and my vision darkens while my heart beats very fast.

Does this sound like high blood pressure? because I am overweight and the thing is I think this started while I was losing weight off of atkins, I lost weight pretty fast (40 pounds in 3 months) and that's when it seemed the worse. I quit atkins, scared to continue. But recently started up again and within 3 days the symptoms are coming back.

I think if I losed the weight it would help, but i'm scared to do anything like exercising because I'm somethings going to explode in my head.

And now looking at the front page of the pots website I scared myself reading so much stuff, likethis can be caused by total atonomic atrophy (something like that) And I'm worried that this could be caused by somethingthat could kill me.

I know how paranoid I sound but this is ruining my life!

Anyone have some input?

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:P Hi Steven - I am the only POTS insomniac I think up at this hour so you are stuck with my advice for now - First, try to relax - If it is POTS you have, it won't kill you - The symptoms may make you make some adjustments to your life like drinking lots of wator, gatorade, being on certain medications for symptoms if your doctor thinks you need them, but this condition, uncomfortable yes, fatal, its not. If you get really stressed when going into the doctor to get your blood pressure taken, maybe you can go to your local drugstore, most big chains like CVS, Target Pharmacy, etc, have the computerized blood pressure monitors there where you sit down and insert your arm in and it reads your blood pressure. If you get stressed while the machine is doing it, there is a red stop button on it. If your blood pressure truly is high, have your mom take you to a doctor that will listen to what you are saying about your symptoms and take you seriously. I know you are young,17, but be prepared when you go to the doctor & write down times and if you can log your symptoms so that you are not vague and they will beleive what you are saying. Also, POTS can mimick other disorders so you will need to be checked out carefully to make sure that this is what you have and not something else. I hope this helped you a little. P.S. I don't know too much about Atkins Diet so I can't help you with the answers to those questions, but maybe your body is lacking in some nutrient since you have been dieting and losing weight rapidly, so before you continue with this diet, have your mom or dad call the doctor and maybe they can put you on a supervised diet/exercise plan. Have a good night and try to get some sleep!! Beth :PB)
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Have you had any medical care yet? You should see an internist or general practitioner first and ask for a 24-hour blood pressure monitor to see whether you have white coat syndrome or true hypertension.

Then, ask for a referral to a cardiologist or neurologist to look into POTS and autonomic testing. A 24-hour Holter monitor to check your heart rhythm is probably a good idea, as is a tilt table test, to see if when you stand, you are having blood pressure changes and heart rate increases. (These are the hallmarks of POTS.)

Good luck,


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Steven, welcome to the site! I'm sorry you have to be here, but at least you will be in good company. I think the atkins diet is all protein right? You have lost weight, good for you! But when you think about it and average it out, it comes to about 3 pounds a week, which should be okay. However not all people tolerate this type of diet well. And losing shouldn't make you feel lousy, it should make you feel better. I went to a drug store and got a BP monitor with a little printer on it. If your arm is over 13 inches, make sure you get a cuff that's a little larger. Using a small cuff on a large arm can make your pressure look higher than it really is. And using one that's too large can make your pressure lower. So it's important that the cuff fit. Measure your upper arm where the cuff goes and buy accordingly. Then take it to the doctor with you and compare it with his, so you are on the same page with cuffs. AS everyone above said, This disease will not kill you, but it can scare the heck out of you! There are certain types of arrythmias that younger people get that can be corrected pretty easily, so the first thing you need is a holter monitor, or an event monitor. The holter records every single heart beat you have for 24 to 48 hours. It is a good device if you have these funny beats everyday. The event monitor is kept on for about a month and you press a little button when you feel funny and it records for a couple of minutes. Just so you know, "white coat syndrome" should be fairly easy to distinguish from high blood pressure. I recommend you see your primary and that you get into a cardiologist for some tests. Not knowing stuff is a lot scarier than finding out what's wrong. You may have something very easily corrected, or you may have autonomic dysfunction which is a little more complex, BOT NOT FATAL. So take a big breath, get into some doctors and get started down that, let's figure out what's going on, road. We will be here for you to help you along! morgan

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It's possible that Atkins is to blame for your symptoms, which is why it would be good to talk to a knowledgable physician and/or a nutritionist who can guide you ... If nothing else, they may help you find a new way of eating and exercising in healthful ways to bring you to a better weight. (My brother went on Atkins for a while ... and a few weeks into it, he began experiencing daily excrutiating headaches. It took him a while to correlate the diet with the headaches--and when he began reintroducing carbs, the headaches went away. Research and talking to physicians helped him uncover the truth about Atkins ... it's not for everyone, and it can cause some mighty scary side effects!)

I agree that you should see your primary care physician and/or a cardiologist who can run some tests if needed and set your mind at ease. Please trust that nothing will explode if you exercise a little ... maybe just try to incorporate more walking into your day, or take the stairs instead of escalator or elevator at first.

best to you,


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Personally, I think the Atkins Diet is dangerous. For just this kind of situation.

Welcome, Steven. :( Try to relax (and get a better doctor.)

Just FYI: If you didn't increase (LOTS) your fluid intake while on Atkins, you stressed your body out pretty good - when digesting proteins, you need much more water than you would with carbs.

Your symptoms could be temporary, and resolve themselves in time; OTOH, get checked out by an MD as soon as you can, if for no other reason than to ease your mind. Stay on a balanced diet, get your body in motion (which will also help with the anxiety), and hydrate yourself well. Eat several small meals throughout the day unless the doc tells you otherwise, but do so until you get in to see someone - doing that will very likely stabilize your blood sugar, and ease your symptoms.

Geez, I'm sorry you're going theough this - keep us posted.


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Hi Steven,

welcome! sorry you're sick :D I'm 18 and a girl! actually, i just turned 18 and A HALF yesterday! woohoo! okay, off-topic, sorry.

yeah, i've tried so many things - eating healthy, exercising, even tho i wasn't overweight. i used to have high bp, also.

mine was like yours at times but no one thought anything of it - they thought it was cause i was lying down too much or that it was normal. turns out i have pots.

it won't kill you (unless u try exercising alone, pass out, and hit your head or pass out in the middle of a busy intersection). not that this will happen, but i'm just trying to help keep you from trying to exercise even when you physically can't. cause i've done that before and it turns ugly - even if u don't faint...it gets REALLY ugly and puts you in the deepest hole EVER.

i would say, go to the next town over. i've barely had luck with dr.'s in the whole northern california area, so don't get too frustrated yet.

where do u live?

maybe first call places to see if they know what pots is and if they treat it.

good luck.

i'm praying for you!

prayers, hugs, and love,


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I know insurance can be an issue for going somewhere else, but just call and ask them. Or get more aggressive with this one. He should not be intimidated by you wanting to see a cardiologist, even he can order a lot of these tests. There are shortages everywhere I know. In my city, the groups are huge and if you have a problem with one doc, they don't want you to switch within that group, which can pretty much leave you hanging by your shorts. But you really need to get things checked out, if only to help you emotionally get off this roller coaster of fear and anxiety. I'm sorry you are having to go through this. If your insurance doesn't require a referral, just make an appt. with the cardiologist yourself. If you have a PPo insurance, you don't need his permission. Ask your mom, or whoever you are covered under and they should be able to tell you. Or just call the number on the insurance card and they can let you know. Just do it Steven. morgan

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Guest tearose

Hi Steven and welcome.

All good suggestions come before me...be proactive and get a good doctor and a thorough workup! There is only one of you. Make sure they get the diagnosis right!

best regards, tearose

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am going to go to my doctor on monday and see if I can get a referal or anything and I'm going to insist on it because i'm not going to let him tell me it's nothing to worry about. Because it is and if he can't realise this then I'll go find a doctor who can.

The symptoms got better, until last night when I felt this pounding in my head while sleeping after turning over on to my side, and thats never happened before, ever... Only when I stand up it happened and I obviously wasn't standing in my sleep so now this is really scaring me and I just want it delt with.

I'll update you guys on monday to tell you whats happening

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