Guide to POTS

Hoping this makes a confusing chronic illness diagnosis easier

Fainting and Partial Syncope

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.

Fainting vs Syncope vs Partial Syncope

So fainting and syncope are the same, syncope is the medical term for fainting. Partial syncope is when you are experiencing symptoms of fainting but do not fall unconscious. 


What it feels like: Everything goes white and then black and the next thing you know you’re on the floor.

What causes it: 

A rapid drop in blood pressure and an extremely fast heart rate. This can happen to anyone, with POTS it is generally the valves in the legs failing to close which then leads to blood not flowing the way it should. 

Solutions I’ve found

For the most part getting up in the morning is the biggest trigger of a blood pressure drop. Get up slowly, move your legs while you’re still laying down to get them working again, try sitting up first and then slowly get up. It was recommended to me to put bed risers at the foot of my bed so the blood would reach my heart but I found it didn’t make a difference once I stood up. 

A taller bed can help, when I was 11-22 at my parents house my bed was practically on the ground, I could lay in bed, bend my arm and my hand would be flat on the floor, maybe an 8 inch clearance total at max. It was the bed I grew up in and I didn’t realize until I went to college that it was having an impact on my POTS. I think having to go from laying down, to crouching, to standing made it really difficult for me. A taller bed made a huge difference in my life.

The whole goal to avoid fainting is to keep your blood pressure up, drink lots of fluids, drink LMNT or Liquid IV, eat a ton of salt, eat when you should.

Partial Syncope

What it feels like: You’ve probably had partial syncope, very small episodes of it occur in most people when you stand up too fast and the whole world goes white for a second, that’s really all it feels like.

What causes it

The same causes of full syncope, a fast drop in blood pressure and a high heart rate.

Solutions I’ve found

Partial syncope is way more common in my life than full syncope. I probably experience partial syncope 2-5 times a day. It normally goes away after a few seconds and if it doesn’t you really should sit or lay down. Once again keep your blood pressure up, eat salty food, drink as much as you can and when that fails sit down with your legs above your heart.

Further Reading

“Differential Diagnosis of Vasovagal Syncope: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia.” NCBI, Accessed 2 April 2023.

Kakavand, Bahram. “Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth.” Kids Health, Accessed 2 April 2023.

“Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 20 January 2023, Accessed 2 April 2023.

Stewart, Julian M. “Postural Tachycardia Syndrome and Reflex Syncope: Similarities and Differences.” NCBI, Accessed 2 April 2023.

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