Hello and welcome to the Heart Forum.
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition characterized by an inappropriate elevation in heart rate when standing up. People who have POTS experience symptoms - most often lightheadedness and palpitations - whenever they are upright. Their symptoms can vary in severity from quite mild to incapacitating.
In addition to the rapid heart rate, they can also have a drop in their blood pressure when standing. Up to 40% of people with POTS will have at least one episode of syncope (passing out).
POTS is a disorder of young people. Most who have this condition are between 14 and 45 years of age and are otherwise healthy. Women are four to five times more likely to develop POTS than men. A propensity for POTS appears to be present in some families.
POTS is most likely a form of dysautonomia, a family of conditions caused by an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system - the part of the nervous system that manages the "unconscious" bodily functions, such as digestion, breathing and heart rate. When the autonomic nervous system is out of balance, a whole host of symptoms can result, involving the cardiovascular system, breathing, the digestive system, the muscles and the skin.
POTS is a heterogeneous (meaning it has many causes) group of disorders with similar clinical manifestations. POTS itself is not a disease; it is simply a cluster of symptoms that are frequently seen together. This is why the 'S' in POTS stands for "Syndrome." Since POTS is not a disease, it is fair to say that POTS is caused by something else. However, figuring out what is causing the symptoms of POTS in each patient can be very difficult, and in many cases, patients and their doctors will not be able to determine the precise underlying cause. When doctors cannot pinpoint the underlying cause of a patient's POTS, it may be called Primary or Idiopathic POTS. Idiopathic simply means "of an unknown origin."
While researchers are still working to identify the root causes and pathology of POTS, there are several underlying diseases and conditions that are known to cause or be associated with POTS or POTS like symptoms in some patients. This is a partial list:
Autoimmune Diseases such as Autoimmune Autonomic Neuropathy, Diabetes, Sjogren's Syndrome, Sarcoidosis and Lupus.
Infections such as Mononucleosis, Epstein Barr Virus, Lyme Disease, extra-pulmonary Mycoplasma pneumonia and Hepatitis C
Toxicity from alcoholism, chemotherapy and heavy metal poisoning.
This list is not all inclusive. Reference: Richard N. Fogoros, M.D.
LLMD stands for Lyme Literate Medical Doctor .
If you have concerns and questions re Lymes you may find better info in the Lymes Forum.
I wish you peace,
and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease. "She Stood in the Storm & When the Wind Did Not Blow Her Away, She Adjusted Her Sails."