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Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia is a syndrome. As such, there is a collection of symptoms that distinguish it. The symptoms are widespread because the autonomic nervous system plays an extensive role in regulating functions throughout the body. Many of these symptoms, such as low blood pressure,* may present only after prolonged standing. Symptoms will vary from person to person. The following is a list of symptoms reported by patients. When possible, we have included the percentage of patients that research reports have experienced a given symptom. Symptoms presumed to be related to cerebral hypoperfusion:** Lightheadedness 77.6 % (Grubb, 2000) Fainting or near fainting 60.5% of patients report near fainting (Grubb, 2000) Generalized weakness 50% (Low et al.) Symptoms presumed to be related to autonomic overactivity include the following:** Palpitations 75% (Grubb, 2000) Tremulousness 37.5% (Low, Opffer-Gehrking, Textor, Benarroch, Shen, Schondorf, Suarez & Rummans, 1995) Shortness of breath 27.6 % (Grubb, 2000) Chest discomfort and/or pain 24.3 % (Grubb, 2000) Sudomotor symptoms include the following:** Loss of sweating 5.3 % (Low et al.) Excessive sweating 9.2 % (Robertson, 2000) Loss of sweating and excessive sweating are more common in patients with elevated norepinephrine levels (Thieben, Sandroni, Sletten, Benrud-Larson, Fealey, Vernino, Lennon, Shen & Low, 2007). Symptoms that may reflect dysautonomia:** Delayed gastric emptying 23.7% of patients report gastrointestinal complaints, including bloating (Grubb et al., 1997) Bloating after meals (Grubb et al., 1997) Nausea 38.8% (Robertson, 2000) Vomiting 8.6% (Thieben et al., 2007) Abdominal pain 15.1% (Thieben et al., 2007) Diarrhea 17.8% (Jacob & Biaggioni, 1999) (sometimes with alternating constipation) Constipation 15.1% (Thieben et al., 2007) Bladder dysfunction 9.2% (Thieben et al., 2007) (this may include Polyuria(Jacob & Biaggioni, 1999) (excessive urination) Pupillary dysfunction 3.3% (Thieben et al., 2007) Pupillary dysfunction may or may not be responsible for some other reported symptoms, such as: Blurred Vision (Grubb, 2000) and Tunnel vision (Low et al.). Generalized Complaint symptoms:** Fatigue 48% (Grubb, 2000) (which can be disabling) Sleep disorders 31.6% (Low et al.) (can cause unrefreshing sleep and an increased need for sleep) Headache/migraine 27.6% (Grubb, 2000) Myofascial pain 15.8% (Thieben et al., 2007) (characterized by regional muscle pain accompanied by trigger points) Neuropathic pain 3% (Thieben et al., 2007) Other symptoms reported in research that are not categorized above include: Dizziness (Grubb, 2000) Tachycardia(Grubb, 2000) Exercise intolerance (Grubb, 2000) Clamminess (Grubb, 2000) Anxiety (Grubb, 2000) Flushing (Grubb, 2000) Postprandial hypotension (Grubb, 2000) (low blood pressure after meals) Blood pooling in limbs (Grubb, 2000) (can make legs feel heavy and appear mottled and purple in color) Intolerance to heat (Grubb & Karas, 1999) Feeling cold all over (Grubb & Karas, 1999) Low blood pressure upon standing (Grubb, Kosinski, Boehm & Kip, 1997) (Some physicians feel orthostatic hypotension is a separate entity from POTS) Cognitive impairment (Grubb et al., 1997) (may include difficulties with concentration, brain fog, memory and/or word recall) Narrowing of upright pulse pressure (Jacob & Biaggioni, 1999) Cold hands (Low et al.) (and often feet & nose) Hypovolemia (Low et al.) (low blood volume) Chills (Low et al.) High blood pressure (Low et al.) Hyperventilation (Low et al.) Numbness or tingling sensations (Low et al.) Reduced pulse pressure upon standing (Low et al.) Low back pain (Mathias, 2000) Aching neck and shoulders (Mathias, 2000) Noise sensitivity (Stewart, 2001) Light Sensitivity (Stewart, 2001) Disequalibrium (Sandroni, Opfer-Gehrking, McPhee & Low, 1999) The above are symptoms reported by POTS researchers. Other symptoms sometimes reported by POTS patients include: Arrhythmias (irregular heart beats) Chemical sensitivities (May have multiple chemical sensitivity and can be very sensitive to medications - may only need small doses) Easily over-stimulated Feeling full quickly Feeling "wired" Food allergies/sensitivities (some foods seem to make symptoms worse) Hyperreflexia Irregular menstrual cycles Loss of appetite Loss of sex drive Muscle aches and/or joint pains Swollen nodules/lymph nodes Polydipsia (excessive thirst) Weight loss or gain Feeling detached from surroundings Restless leg syndrome POTS symptoms can vary from day to day. They tend to multiply and become exaggerated upon upright posture. Blood flow and blood pressure regulation are also abnormal while supine or sitting, but these abnormalities may not be as apparent and may require orthostatic stress to become evident (Stewart & Erickson, 2002). Some patients do report symptoms occurring while sitting or lying down. Heat, exercise and eating can exacerbate symptoms. Women sometimes report an increase in symptoms around menstruation. If you are suffering from some of the above symptoms, you need to seek professional help. Please do not attempt self-diagnosis. *Some of the above symptoms are specifically related to orthostatic hypotension, traditionally defined as an excessive fall in BP (typically > 20/10 mm Hg) on assuming the upright posture. Not all patients will experience a drop in blood pressure upon standing. Some physicians define orthostatic hypotension as a separate entity from POTS. ** The hypothesized origin of symptoms and their frequency came from the "Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome: The Mayo Clinic Experience" by Thieben, Sandroni, Sletten, Benrud-Larson, Fealey, Vernino, Lennon, Shen & Low, 2007. For more information about POTS, please view the additional articles, resources and links References 1. Grubb, B. P. (2000, July). Orthostatic intolerance. National Dysautonomia Research Foundation Patient Conference. Minneapolis, Minnesota. 2. Grubb, B. P., & Karas, B. (1999) Clinical disorders of the autonomic nervous system associated with orthostatic intolerance. Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 22, 798-810. Full text: www.ndrf.org/PDF%20Files/disorders.PDF 3. Grubb, B. P., Kosinski, D.J., Boehm, K., & Kip, K. (1997). The postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome: a neurocardiogenic variant identified during head-up tilttable testing. Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 20, (9, Pt. 1), 2205-12. PMID: 9309745 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 4. Jacob, G., & Biaggioni I. (1999). Idiopathic orthostatic intolerance and postural tachycardia syndromes. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 317, 88-101. PMID: 10037112 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 5. Low, P. A., Oper-Gehrking, T. L., Textor, S. C., Benarroch, E. E., Shen, W. K., Schondorf, R., Suarez, G. A., & Rummans, T. A. (1995). Postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Neurology, 45, (4, Supplement 5), S19-25. PMID: 7746369 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 6. Mathias, C. J. (2000, July). Other autonomic disorders. National Dysautonomia Research Foundation Patient conference. Minneapolis, Minnesota. 7. Robertson, D. (2000, July). General description of the autonomic nervous system and orthostatic intolerance overview. National Dysautonomia Research Foundation Patient Conference. Minneapolis, Minnesota. 8. Sandroni, P., Opfer-Gehrking, T. L., McPhee, B. R., & Low, P. A. (1999). Postural tachycardia syndrome: clinical features and follow-up study. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 74, (11), 1106-1110. PMID: 10560597 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 9. Stewart, J. M., (2001, Spring/Summer). About being young and dizzy: overview of dysautonomia. National Dysautonomia Research Foundation Youth Network Fainting Robins Newsletter, "The Young and the Dizzy", 1, 1-2. 10. Stewart, J. M., & Erickson, L.C., (2002). Orthostatic intolerance: an overview. In Alejos, J. C., Konop, R., Chin, A. J., Herzberg, G., Neish, S. (Eds.). emedicine Journal, 3, (1). http://www.emedicine.com/ped/topic2860.htm 11. Thieben, M. J., Sandroni, P., Sletten, D. N., Benrud-Larson, L. M., Fealey, R. D., Vernino, S., Lennon, V. A., Shen, W. K., & Low, P. A., (2007). Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome: the Mayo Clinic experience. Mayo Clin. Proc. 82, (3), 308-313.
Hi all, I'm still trying to identify my symptoms so I can modify my behavoir. Clearly identifying my symptoms has helped me not freak out about having some freaky symptom of unknown cause. My bp drops upon standing so I know it's only a matter of time before I have to lay down. A few montha ago, I finally figured out that I have pots too after testing my bp and hr after standing for 10 minutes. I'd only been tested for oi, bp dropping within 3 minutes at my doctors so I didn't realize that I had this too. So today, I made and ate breakfast all the while feeling a little weaker, fuzzy headed and shakey the longer I was up. Then it hit me and I got the feeling like I had to lay down. I could only breath thru my mouth at that point. I stopped and took my bp and hr tho. Bp was ok but hr was 109. My resting heartrate runs 65 - 69. I laid down and took it again. My hr was 69. Out of curiosity, I stood up again and took it again. This time my hr was 103. Laid back down for a couple of minutes and it went right back down to 65. Once again I got up and my hr was 95. Ok, so to me this means that once i've reached the point of tachycardia, my heartrate will be high upon standing until my heart has actually recovered ... This substantiates why it takes me so long to recover physically and mentally from standing up too long. The people in my life, including my doctors, seemed to think that I would recover as son as I laid down. But this shows that my heart, etc. isn't recovering that quickly. I'm sure this is from hypoperfusion like dr peckerman explained. I'm still laying down waiting till I feel like I have recovered. I'll post my bp and hr upon standing rwhen I do. I posted this because i thought this might help some of you understand your symptoms too. Tc d Eta. I felt better after an hour so I got up but I forgot to take my bp. Duh ... I sat and ate pumkin seeds loaded with salt for an hour. Then it happened again, tachycardia, so I had to lay back down. Hr was 103 before laying down. After laying down for 30 minutes, I got up again and retested my hr. It was 89. I still feel weak and fuzzy headed so this time, I'm waiting until I feel totally healthy at rest. It normally takes a minimum of one hour.
I'd like to take a poll to see what kind of tachycardia everyone has. I was told mine stems from my sinoatrial node (also commonly spelled sinuatrial node, abbreviated SA node or SAN, also called the sinus node). Can everyone please list their HR in different positions when flaring and when not flaring. My HR when not flaring is at rest 65-85, sitting 75-90, standing 80-100. When flaring I'm at rest 85-105, sitting 100-120, standing 110-155 Thanks!