October marks Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS) awareness with PoTS awareness day on 25th October. PoTS is a condition caused by abnormal functioning of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which controls heart rate and blood pressure and where there is any dysfunction it is called dysautonomia.
PoTS is a common comorbidity of both ME/CFS and Long Covid. Therefore, PoTS is considered one of the conditions that cause some of the overlapping symptoms between the two conditions.
PoTS main symptoms include:
- Palpitations/Tachycardia (rapid pulse rate)
- Dizziness or light-headedness or presyncope (almost fainting)
- Syncope (fainting or blackouts)
- Chest discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive sweating
“Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS) can cause dizziness, light-headedness, blurred vision, mental confusion, nausea and feeling faint, or even fainting.
“If the pulse rate rises excessively (ie more than 30 beats per minute in adults or 40 beats per minute in adolescents) when moving from lying to standing within 10 minutes of doing, this is known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (PoTS).
“PoTS seems to be more common in younger people with ME/CFS. Finally, it is interesting to note that all these symptoms of ANS dysfunction are being quite commonly reported in people with Long Covid.
“PoTS UK figures suggests 27% of the ME/CFS community have a diagnosis of Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS) and around 12% of people with Long Covid also have PoTS, although some Long Covid research studies indicate that this figure is significantly higher.”Dr Charles Shepherd, Honorary Medical Adviser to the ME Association.
A useful screening tool for ANS dysfunction in ME/CFS is the NASA 10-minute lean test. More detailed investigations in the hospital can be done using Tilt-table testing.
- Bateman Horne Centre: NASA 10 Minute Lean Test.
- British Heart Foundation: Tilt table test.
The PoTS, ME/CFS and Long Covid Survey
The ME Association invites you to complete a website survey about PoTS to discover what symptoms you may have, what management strategies you use or if you take medication.
PoTS UK supports and educates patients, family, friends and healthcare professionals within the UK about this under recognised and commonly misdiagnosed condition by sharing up-to-date evidence and resources. Please visit their website to learn more.
- ME Association Medical Matters: Dysautonomia: Orthostatic Intolerance (OI) and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS).
- ME Association Medical Matters: Dizziness.
- ME Association Medical Matters: Fainting.
- NHS Information: Postural Tachycardia Syndrome.