Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS)

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PoTS is is a condition caused by a failure of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) – which helps to control pulse rate and blood flow to vital organs – to respond appropriately when we stand up, or try to remain standing. This leads to dizziness, feeling lightheaded or faint when moving from lying to standing, and sometimes even fainting.

A small but significant minority of people with ME/CFS also have a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS). But it often remains undiagnosed because of lack of knowledge amongst health professionals. PoTS is is a condition caused by a failure of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) – which helps to control pulse rate and blood flow to vital organs – to respond appropriately when we stand up, or try to remain standing.

In PoTS, there is a failure of this ANS response mechanism with inadequate constriction of the blood vessels and a larger rise in pulse rate. Blood flow to the brain then falls, which is called cerebral hypoperfusion. This leads to the characteristic symptoms of PoTS: dizziness, feeling lightheaded or faint when moving from lying to standing, and sometimes even fainting.

Topics discussed include: What is PoTS? Why does PoTS affect some people with ME/CFS? Primary PoTS and the overlap with other conditions, Diagnostic symptoms and signs, How is PoTS diagnosed? How is PoTS treated? Drug treatments.

Telephone Helpline

The ME Association telephone helpline – ME Connect – is available every day of the year, during the hours of 10am-12noon, 2pm-4pm and 7pm-9pm. Please phone: 0344 576 5326 if you have any questions or would simply like to talk to someone who is there to listen.

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