close
Tuesday June 18, 2024

What is POTS, a health condition many women are facing post-COVID?

POTS is a condition that affects the autonomic nervous system, which controls unconscious bodily functions like heart rate

By Web Desk
May 10, 2024
Representational image of a woman expressing distress. — Unsplash
Representational image of a woman expressing distress. — Unsplash

Many women who have had COVID-19 are now experiencing symptoms of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).

POTS is a condition that affects the autonomic nervous system, which controls unconscious bodily functions like heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and digestion. 

POTS is characterised by a rapid heart rate, lightheadedness, and fatigue when standing or sitting up. The condition can be caused by issues with blood flow and the autonomic nervous system, including:

  • Low blood volume, making it difficult for the body to push blood back up towards the heart and brain
  • An overactive sympathetic response, leading to an excessive "fight or flight" response
  • Underactive parasympathetic response, reducing the body's ability to rest and digest

Symptoms 

Common symptoms of POTS include:

  • Rapid heart rate within 10 minutes of standing or sitting up
  • Lightheadedness and fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath

Diagnosis 

POTS can be challenging to diagnose, with an average of 5 years to diagnosis in 2019. However, with the advent of online chronic illness communities and access to health information, diagnosis may be shortened. If you're experiencing these symptoms, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Cure

POTS can be managed with:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as increasing fluid and electrolyte intake, and gradually increasing physical activity
  • Medication, such as beta blockers and fludrocortisone
  • Therapy, including physical therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy

POTS patients should seek help early. It can make a significant difference in managing symptoms and improving quality of life.