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  • The Member Stories section of our site is a place where members can submit the stories of their experiences as a person living with dysautonomia.  We also link to member stories that have appeared in our newsletter.  Please note that Member Stories are not edited by DINET and the views and beliefs expressed in the articles are strictly the views of the member.   Please note that the stories submitted are reviewed for content and should follow the guidelines of the site.  We do our best to publish each story submitted,  but publication is at DINET's discretion. If you would like to submit your story, please write to webmaster@dinet.org - include "member story" in the subject line. 

So That's Why I Used To See Stars ...


By Kate
May 2002

I am a 30 something fit female who is a nonsmoker. My father had low blood pressure but no symptoms. When I was in my early 20s, I worked and exercised but sometimes (about once a year) would have strange symptoms of getting dizzy, feeling faint and seeing stars. It was just always hanging over my head, plus I have always been shaky in the morning upon rising... I thought it was iron deficiency and took a multi-vitamin with iron and was always surprised that my blood work showed up fine. Doctors have always been impressed with my rather low blood pressure, convincing me it was a good thing. I thought so too...

In November 2001, I came down with a nasty flu virus which left me with asthma. For 3 1/2 months I had to stay at home while recovering (believe me, not breathing well is a very scary thing) and had to use inhaled corticosteroids. Sometimes the corticosteroids made my heart rate fast, so you can imagine how surprised I was when, after getting and staying off the medicine once I was cured, the occasional fast heart rate continued. 

I did not take my heart rate very often prior to that, except while resting. It has always been between 60 and 65 bpm at rest. However, now it is especially bad in the morning when I stand up - unless I have a tall glass of water before rising, it goes to 120 bpm just from standing! And to think that I am an otherwise healthy and thin martial artist! 

I contacted a cardiologist via the internet (yes, I know it's not the ideal situation, but I had so many doctor visits while suffering from asthma that I really needed a reprieve from those doctor's appointments!) To make a long story short, the online cardiologist informed me that, if my heart was ok, it sounded like I was experiencing low blood pressure symptoms. 

I did more research on the Internet and came across this POTS website, which has been a blessing to me because I have all of the symptoms of POTS!!! Bending over makes me dizzy, raising my arms over my head might make my heart rate fast, and standing up in the morning or standing up from a chair too fast are very bad news!!! At the moment, I am trying to get off coffee and seem to have things under better control as I have been drinking lots of water and consuming salt. The tall glass of water does seem to be an immediate solution whenever I forget to stand up slowly. Of course, the day does get better as you progress, but from now on, I will be sure to carry a very large bottled water with me wherever I go...

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