Guide to POTS

Hoping this makes a confusing chronic illness diagnosis easier

Getting a Diagnosis

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I can only speak to my own experience and hope that gives you some insight into what POTS is and how it can affect you or the people around you. 

Difficulty Getting a Diagnosis

It can be very hard to get a POTS diagnosis, commonly POTS is misdiagnosed as anxiety or panic disorder. On average it takes years to get a diagnosis and most people see multiple doctors.  I think with the recent uptake in POTS cases that getting a diagnosis would be quicker as more and more doctors and medical personnel become more aware of the disorder. 

Test at home

If you suspect you have POTS you can test yourself at home. You’ll need to get a heart monitor/ blood pressure monitor and check your blood pressure and heart rate while you’re laying down, sitting and standing. 

First you should first lay down for 15 minutes then take your blood pressure / heart rate.

Then stand and take your blood pressure / heart rate immediately, stay standing for 15 minutes and retake your blood pressure and heart rate. 

What you are looking for is an increase of 30 beats per minute going from laying down to standing or a total of 120 after the 15 minutes of standing. There should also be a drop in blood pressure when standing. 

Please remember that POTS is not just a change in heart rate but also a myriad of symptoms, this is just a way you can test yourself at home. To get an official diagnosis you do need to see a doctor who will run either a tilt table test or the test I just described above.

A tilt table test is when you get strapped to a medical table and get rotated around, up and down and up and down. While this is happening you will be hooked up to a blood pressure and heart rate monitor and possibly an EKG. Your doctor will collect this information and make an official diagnosis. 

How will a diagnosis help?

A diagnosis will help to find the correct medication, get your treatments on the right track and give you some answers. It will not be a fix or a cure and in the end might even be a burden at times but it will be a massive part of your life. 

Further Reading

“How is POTS syndrome diagnosed?” London Heart Clinic, Accessed 26 June 2023.

“Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).” Johns Hopkins Medicine, Accessed 26 June 2023.

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