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Problem on airplane.


lavanity
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I took my first airplane trip and going to my destination was fine but coming home I got really dizzy, about to pass out upon takeoff. It felt like my head was spinning and I felt like I was gonna pass out. It only lasted for a few seconds but was very scary. I also felt like my eyes wanted to shut during the whole flight. What I want to know is this normal or do people with POTS only get this? Thanks for any help on this :P

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lavanity-

welcome. do you have a diagnosis of POTS or was your problem on the airplane a one-time thing? those with POTS seem to have more trouble than most flying (although not all of us do) but many "normal" folks can have issues with flying too so it's definitely not diagnostic. here are a few prior discussions about flying:

http://dinet.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=2499

http://dinet.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=2519

http://dinet.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=2856

http://dinet.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=2092

http://dinet.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=226

http://dinet.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=1771

http://dinet.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=358

http://dinet.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=1140

hope this helps,

:-)melissa

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Thank you for the reply and the links. yes I have been diagnosed with POTS from a positive tilt table test. I had never flown and didn't know what to expect and I was a little apprehensive since I have POTS and get dizziness and palpitations. Thanks again :P

(edited to remove duplicate post)

Edited by MightyMouse
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Lavanity, Hi, I've been flying for many years - mainly before POTS but some after the diagnosis. I think that you could have been experiencing the mild "vertigo" attack that I get when the plane is climbing out and/or changing altitude rather quickly or using the artificial cabin pressure when at higher altitudes. I get a 1 second vertigo attack depending on what the airplane is doing at the time. I do not have a sense of passing out, but if it were the first time I've ever flown, and I hadn't ever felt that before, I might think I was going to black out. I'm so used to this, that I don't think about it. It happened pre and post-POTS.

Also, my take on the "I can't keep my eyes open". I've seen this affect on my entire family, including the healthy ones, on some flights. I really believe that the airflow in the cabin sometimes contains less oxygen because of all the people in the plane and the recirculating air (or whatever, I don't know), and you cannot stay awake under those circumstances. I've seen this happen mainly on the ground. You could also experience this MORE because of the POTS and the fact that your brain probably has slightly less oxygenation anyway. It's like altitude sickness to the max. And I've seen "normal" people fall asleep from what I call the "lack of oxygen" in the cabin. It usually adjusts itself once you're in the air. Then again, if you do sleep, the flight passes more quickly.

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I experience this same sensation every time I fly. I was diagnosed with POTS almost 4 years ago and have flown about 7 or 8 times since then. I think it is a very normal response to the altitude and pressure changes, but those of us with dysautonomia feel a stronger reaction, or become more aware of the sensation than a normal person would. The only thing that helps me is to get a window seat and look out the window- when the pilot makes a turn it's much more tolerable if I can see where I'm going instead of just feeling dizzy!

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I used to fly 75% of the time for work, and now my flights are down to about 4-8 times a year. I still get nauseous, dizzy, and vertigo on flights. I have many of the same reactions you mentioned in your original post. Some things that work for me:

Airplanes are low on oxygen, and because of high altitudes you dehydrate much more quickly than normal.

I bring extra bottles of water and drink extra to compensate, I also take sinutab to open up the sinuses and vessels to prevent dizziness and sinus infections from the germs on the plane. When the plane is taking off or landing, I keep my eyes closed because I can usually see the pressure of the plane landing and it makes me more dizzy than normal.

Just do everything you normall would to counteract your symptoms but to the extreme because things catapult more quickly on an airplane.

Good Luck! Don't stop traveling though, life is too short!!

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lavanity -

you're welcome:-) i had only asked about the POTS since i hadn't "met" you before & didn't want to jump to conclusions & give someone without a diagnosis reason to think they had POTS just b/c of a rxn to flying. often folks come here pre-diagnosis & while many times it does end up that they have an autonomic issue i just didn't want to confuse you as so many symptoms can overlap between disorders. but...since you've already had a tilt that's all irrelevant & i'm just rambling:-)

that said, glad you found the forum. there's a lot of good info here & great people to go along with it. hope to "see" you around,

:-)melissa

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Lavanity, Hi, I've been flying for many years - mainly before POTS but some after the diagnosis.  I think that you could have been experiencing the mild "vertigo" attack that I get when the plane is climbing out and/or changing altitude rather quickly or using the artificial cabin pressure when at higher altitudes.  I get a 1 second vertigo attack depending on what the airplane is doing at the time. I do not have a sense of passing out, but if it were the first time I've ever flown,  and I hadn't ever felt that before, I might think I was going to black out. I'm so used to this, that I don't think about it.  It happened pre and post-POTS.

Also, my take on the "I can't keep my eyes open".  I've seen this affect on my entire family, including the healthy ones, on some flights.  I really believe that the airflow in the cabin sometimes contains less oxygen because of all the people in the plane and the recirculating air (or whatever, I don't know), and you cannot stay awake under those circumstances.  I've seen this happen mainly on the ground.  You could also experience this MORE because of the POTS and the fact that your brain probably has slightly less oxygenation anyway.  It's like altitude sickness to the max.  And I've seen "normal" people fall asleep from what I call the "lack of oxygen" in the cabin.  It usually adjusts itself once you're in the air. Then again, if you do sleep, the flight passes more quickly.

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences, it was very helpful to me. Glad to hear I am not the only one who feels this way :D

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I experience this same sensation every time I fly.  I was diagnosed with POTS almost 4 years ago and have flown about 7 or 8 times since then.  I think it is a very normal response to the altitude and pressure changes, but those of us with dysautonomia feel a stronger reaction, or become more aware of the sensation than a normal person would.  The only thing that helps me is to get a window seat and look out the window- when the pilot makes a turn it's much more tolerable if I can see where I'm going instead of just feeling dizzy!

Thank you for the reply and the help, it is really a relief to know that I am not the only one who experiences this, thanks :D

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lavanity -

you're welcome:-)  i had only asked about the POTS since i hadn't "met" you before & didn't want to jump to conclusions & give someone without a diagnosis reason to think they had POTS just b/c of a rxn to flying.  often folks come here pre-diagnosis & while many times it does end up that they have an autonomic issue i just didn't want to confuse you as so many symptoms can overlap between disorders.  but...since you've already had a tilt that's all irrelevant & i'm just rambling:-)

that said, glad you found the forum.  there's a lot of good info here & great people to go along with it.  hope to "see" you around,

:-)melissa

No problem, I understand :D. Thank you for all the help and the warm welcome, this is a great board!

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I used to fly 75% of the time for work, and now my flights are down to about 4-8 times a year. I still get nauseous, dizzy, and vertigo on flights. I have many of the same reactions you mentioned in your original post. Some things that work for me:

Airplanes are low on oxygen, and because of high altitudes you dehydrate much more quickly than normal.

I bring extra bottles of water and drink extra to compensate, I also take sinutab to open up the sinuses and vessels to prevent dizziness and sinus infections from the germs on the plane. When the plane is taking off or landing, I keep my eyes closed because I can usually see the pressure of the plane landing and it makes me more dizzy than normal.

Just do everything you normall would to counteract your symptoms but to the extreme because things catapult more quickly on an airplane.

Good Luck! Don't stop traveling though, life is too short!!

Thank you for the great tips :D

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