How To Treat Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a common disorder of the circulatory system that most often affects women aged fifteen to sixty. The condition results in orthostatic intolerance, meaning too little blood is circulated back to the heart when a patient moves to a standing position after lying down. Symptoms include anxiety, a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, and nausea. Typically, most of these go away when the patient lies down again. Many patients with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome find exercise can trigger their symptoms, and some patients have reported diarrhea or constipation with this condition. 

Doctors often diagnose postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome with a tilt-table test, where the patient is placed on a cardiac monitor and lies down on a special bed. For safety, the patient is strapped in to prevent falling during the procedure. The bed starts in the normal horizontal position and is gradually moved ninety degrees. As the bed moves, doctors observe the patient's heart rate for changes. Occasionally, patients may faint during the test. Having diabetes, anemia, mononucleosis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, or mitral valve prolapse may increase the risk of developing postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. This condition is considered chronic and may be lifelong.

Add A Little More Salt To Diet

Higher salt intake can increase blood volume, reducing the likelihood of fainting upon standing for patients with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. For this reason, doctors recommend patients add a little more salt to their diet. Patients who have a large number of symptoms may need to consume between five to ten thousand milligrams of sodium per day. For patients with moderate forms of the disorder, consuming two to four thousand milligrams each day is likely sufficient.

If possible, patients should increase their salt intake by eating saltier foods and adding salt to their meals at the table. For patients who cannot tolerate this, doctors can recommend appropriate sodium tablets. Increasing their salt intake will benefit patients with most kinds of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, but it is not appropriate for patients who have kidney failure or heart disease.

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