Guide to POTS

Hoping this makes a confusing chronic illness diagnosis easier

Chest Pains, Shortness of Breath, Heart Palpitations

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.

Chest Pains

What it feels like: Sharp or dull pains in the chest, mainly centered around the heart.

What causes it

Good news with POTS: chest pains is almost never a problem with your arteries. The chest pains with POTS are thought to be a problem with the “electric” currents going through your heart or the skipped heart beats or even forced heart beats. Even a strong and fast heart beat can cause chest pains.

Solutions I’ve Found

Raising my blood pressure lowers my heart rate so my goal is always to raise my blood pressure. Resting, keeping my feet up in particular helps. Liqui IV also helps a lot.

Shortness of Breath

What it feels like: You can’t catch your breath but for extended amounts of time, think hours each day.

What Causes it

When your heart is beating faster you tend to breathe faster, but this does not always result in a higher oxygen take. Very often with POTS this faster breathing can create more CO2 in your bloodstream and lungs which makes you feel short of breath.


Solutions I’ve found

Breathing through my nose helps more than breathing through my mouth. Also keeping up my blood pressure helps overall because then my heart rate is slower. 

Heart Palpitations

What it feels like: Your heart is pounding out of your chest and can make you feel symptoms of anxiety.

What causes it

When your blood pressure drops your heart beats faster to get your blood pressure up and blood moving to the right areas. With POTS your blood pressure drops every time you stand up which also causes your heart rate to rise. So heart palpitations can happen anytime you’re standing, or sitting down or even laying down recovering from standing. I find it happens most when going up stairs or changing the position of my leg for example crouching. 

Solutions I’ve found

Laying down with my feet above my heart is the fastest way to get my blood pressure up which stops the palpitations. That being said, the second you leave this position your blood pressure will drop again. Also Liquid IV helps a lot to keep my bp up all day.

Further Reading

“Breathlessness and dysfunctional breathing in patients with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS): The impact of a physiotherapy intervention.” PubMed, 12 November 2019, Accessed 28 March 2023.

“Diagnosis and management of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome: A brief review.” NCBI, Accessed 28 March 2023.

Kakavand, Bahram. “Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) (for Parents) – Nemours.” Kids Health, Accessed 28 March 2023.

Nicholson, Lorna, and Jessica DeMars. “Breathing: Breathing Pattern Disorders in PoTS.” PoTS UK, Accessed 28 March 2023.

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