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Pots & Asthma


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My POTS symptoms developed about the same time that I was diagnosed with Asthma. I can't help but think they are related in some of our cases since bronchial constriction and dialation is an autonomic function.

My pulmonary function test also showed a lowered (70%) oxygen diffusion rate, and my nails and lips turn blue quite frequently. I think my oxygen level desaturates as well (100% down to 96% sitting during testing then down to 92% during a walking test), but the pulmonologist interpreted this as a loss of signal (however, included the heartrate of 155 that occurred at the same time as valid).

Unfortunately, it's hard to get a pulmonologist to listen because they are so used to critical ICU type cases. Just not being able to get to work or do basic daily activities isn't a big deal to them.

Have any of you found or heard of a medical link between the two?

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I had asthma years before POTS. I would suggest that you find another pulmonologist if you are uncertain about your diagnosis and treatment plan. If a pulmonologist does not work out, you might want to see an allergist. An allergist first diagnosed my asthma. It was my pulmonologist who worked with me and POTS.

Good luck. I would be interested to learn about your situation with asthma and POTs as you move down this mirky road.

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Ironically, I have been to an allergist and tested negative for allergies (except for a very, very slight allergy to cats - not enough to cause asthma). I'm fairly sure it is not a misdiagnosis since the PFT was positive. Plus, in my brilliance (or not, ha!), when I was diagnosed with POTS, I wanted to see if I could reduce the asthma meds. That didn't work out so well. :)

I'm in pulmonologist shopping mode. One of my doctors is trying to find a specialist that would be interested in digging/researching to figure out what is causing my asthma (or whatever it is...). That's so interesting that your pulmonolgist treated your POTS, Goldicedance. Did he/she diagnose it as well?

I'm really curious to see if anyone has discussed with their doctor or seen research that might link the two - perhaps as a specific trigger for POTS - or maybe as a result of autonomic degeneration.

Or you might just have some thoughts on how or if the two could be related. I'd love to hear them!

Thanks for your replies! :)

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The only thing I know of so far is to use a peak flow meter when a shortness of breath attack occurs. Sometimes, it seems like the asthma, but the peak flow is above the 80% mark, so it must be the autonomic dysfunction...?

When it drops below 80%, then I think asthma...

Have you found any other ways to distinguish the two? They feel identical, don't they?!?

I think one exacerbates the other. If I'm having a mild asthma attack and then go to work, everything goes haywire, the asthma gets worse and the s.o.b. is so bad that I feel like I'm ER bound. I've been driven home more than once. :P

I wasn't diagnosed with POTS until November of this year, but back in 2005 when the asthma was first diagnosed, I remember asking on my first visit to the pulmonologist..."Hey, any idea why my feet are turning purple?"

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