Pots Disability: Understand and Manage This Condition

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, known as POTS syndrome, is a part of the dysautonomia group. Dysautonomia is when the autonomic nervous system can’t control body functions well. POTS causes a big jump in heart rate when someone stands up, leading to tough symptoms.

POTS is different from orthostatic hypotension because it doesn’t drop blood pressure. Instead, it spikes the heart rate. It affects about one to three million people in the U.S., mainly women and young adults. Understanding POTS has gotten better, but it’s still hard to diagnose. People with it need special care to feel better.

Key Takeaways

  • POTS syndrome affects an estimated 1 to 3 million Americans.
  • POTS is more common in women, particularly young adults and adolescents.
  • Symptoms include severe fatigue, lightheadedness, brain fog, palpitations, and nausea.
  • POTS symptoms worsen in warm environments and with inadequate fluid and salt intake.
  • Management typically involves a combination of diet, medications, and physical therapy.
  • The condition can significantly interfere with daily living and may require lifestyle adjustments.

What is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)?

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is an issue with the nervous system. It causes a quick heart rate increase when someone stands up. This happens because the body doesn’t control blood flow correctly.

Understanding the Autonomic Nervous System

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) handles key body functions like heart beat and digestion. It usually adjusts blood flow and heartbeat when we move. But for people with POTS, this system struggles, leading to a condition called orthostatic intolerance.

Defining POTS

POTS means your heart beats 30 more times a minute, or over 120, when you stand up. You might feel dizzy, tired, and even have heart palpitations. It often affects women and young people. Almost three million Americans might have POTS.

How POTS Differs from Orthostatic Hypotension

Orthostatic hypotension and POTS both relate to posture changes. But POTS does not lower blood pressure like orthostatic hypotension does. It’s about a quick heartbeat due to a nervous system disorder. People with POTS might also have issues with blood volume and hormones. Knowing these differences helps doctors treat patients right.

Symptoms of POTS

Living with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS, means dealing with many hard symptoms. These can greatly affect daily life and how well you feel. Knowing these symptoms and their effects is very important for patients and their caregivers.

POTS diagnosis

Common Symptoms

Here are some common symptoms of POTS:

  • Debilitating fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness upon standing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Exercise intolerance

These symptoms can make everyday life hard. They may get worse in places that are warm or if you stand a lot. Women and younger people get POTS more often.

How Symptoms Affect Daily Life

POTS symptoms can make it really hard to do normal tasks. Feeling very tired or dizzy can stop you from standing up for long. This makes work or school tough. It can also make exercise feel too hard or not possible.

Symptoms like brain fog make it hard to think or focus. This affects your work and how much you get done. Also, sometimes people think POTS symptoms are just in your head. But they’re not. Knowing what the symptoms really are is very important.

Here’s more about POTS symptoms and how many people have them:

SymptomPrevalence (%)
Heart Palpitations60-70%
Brain Fog50-60%

Knowing these symptoms and how they impact life is key to diagnosing POTS well. It helps start the right way to manage it. This lets those with POTS live better and with less trouble.

Causes and Risk Factors of POTS

POTS stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. It’s a tricky condition caused by many things. Getting to know about POTS etiology helps in dealing with it better.

Potential Causes

The reasons behind POTS are complex. They may include small-fiber neuropathy, affecting blood flow control. Also, hyperadrenergic POTS relates to too much norepinephrine. This causes fast heart rate and high blood pressure. Another type, hypovolemic POTS, happens due to not enough blood volume. This makes it hard for the body to keep blood pressure stable when standing.

Risk Factors for Developing POTS

Many factors can raise the risk of getting POTS. It’s more common in women than men. Young people, like teenagers and young adults, get it more often. Genes, past infections, surgeries, and autoimmune diseases can also increase the risk. Recent findings show a link between POTS and long-term COVID-19 effects.

Form of POTSCharacteristicPotential Causes
Neuropathic POTSNervous system dysfunctionSmall-fiber neuropathy
Hyperadrenergic POTSHigh levels of norepinephrineElevated stress hormones
Hypovolemic POTSLow blood volumeReduced blood volume
Secondary POTSSecondary to other conditionsAutoimmune diseases, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Learning about these causes and risks is key for POTS diagnosis and management. It helps you and your doctors to make a good treatment plan.

Diagnosing POTS

Finding out if someone has Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) involves looking at symptoms and doing tests. Since many signs can appear, and some are like other issues, right tests are key to know for sure.

Tilt Table Test

The tilt table test is vital for checking POTS. You start lying down on a table that moves you up to a standing spot. Health experts watch how your heart rate and blood pressure react. A heart rate jump while your blood pressure stays the same can mean POTS.

Standing Test

In the active stand test or the standing test, you lie down, then stand up. Doctors check your heart rate and blood pressure in both positions. If your heart beats faster after standing with stable blood pressure, it could point to POTS.

Other Diagnostic Methods

Other tests are also useful in diagnosing POTS. Doctors may use Valsalva maneuvers and tests to see how much you sweat. These check if your nerves and heart are working right. They help tell POTS apart from other issues with the same signs.

Diagnostic TestPurposeCriteria
Tilt Table TestMonitors heart rate and blood pressure response in varied positions.Abnormal heart rate increase while tilting.
Standing TestCompares supine and upright heart rate and blood pressure.Significant heart rate increase upon standing.
Valsalva ManeuverAssesses autonomic control over heart rate and blood pressure.Evaluates autonomic nerve function.
Quantitative Sudomotor TestMeasures sweat response.Indicates autonomic nerve function.

Using the diagnostic criteria for POTS correctly is a must for finding and helping with this complex issue. With the right tests and looking at symptoms, doctors can make plans to help manage POTS.

Living with POTS: Daily Management and Lifestyle Adjustments

Managing POTS well needs diet, exercise, medicine, and support. With great strategies, improving your life quality is possible.

Diet and Nutrition

Diet hugely affects POTS management. It helps to drink lots of fluids and eat more salt. But, if you have hyperadrenergic POTS, skip this advice. Eat a balanced diet and stay away from dairy, gluten, alcohol, and caffeine to avoid symptoms.

Try to drink about 100 ounces of water or an electrolyte drink that’s low in sugar every day. This keeps you hydrated.

Physical Activity

Doing physical activities that match your fitness can boost your health. Try 30-60 minutes of exercises like swimming or rowing each day. Wearing compression stockings (20-30 mmHg) also helps by stopping blood from pooling and boosting circulation. These changes in lifestyle can make a huge positive difference for POTS patients.


Medicines play a key part in POTS care. Drugs like fludrocortisone, beta-blockers, and midodrine can help. They work on your blood, heart rate, and blood vessels. Remember, always talk with a healthcare pro to get the right medicine plan for you.

Support Systems and Resources

Having people to support you is crucial for POTS management. Talk to doctors who know about POTS. Join groups and online communities for help and friendship. Also, seeing therapists or counselors can help you find ways to cope better and feel stronger mentally. Making these adjustments in your life, with professional support, tackles POTS symptoms well.

Management StrategyDetails
Diet and NutritionIncrease fluid and salt intake; avoid dairy, gluten, alcohol, and caffeine
Physical Activity30-60 minutes of daily exercise; use compression stockings (20-30 mmHg)
MedicationsFludrocortisone, beta-blockers, midodrine as prescribed
Support SystemsHealthcare professionals, patient advocacy groups, online communities

Impact of POTS on Quality of Life

Living with POTS means facing big life changes. It can change how you work every day. In a study, only 48% had jobs before the study began. Also, 66.8% said they’d work more if they were not sick, showing how tough it is to work with POTS.

Being sick with POTS often means losing money. About 70.5% of people said they lost income because of POTS. And 36.0% lost over $10,000 in a year. Also, 51.1% spent more than $10,000 on doctor visits and medicines.

Because they were sick, 20.9% lost their jobs. And 74% couldn’t work for over a week. Also, 82.2% had to call in sick a lot.

Money and job troubles also affect other parts of life. For example, 28.5% said their partner lost money because they had to take care of them. About 72.4% had to change their job to fit their health needs. This shows the everyday struggles of living with POTS and having to change your life around it.

Even so, many look for help by applying for benefits. Around 34.2% tried for Government Benefits, with 64.2% getting them. And 12.0% went for Private Benefits, with a better success of 73.9%. These efforts show how hard they try to manage life with POTS.

Here’s a closer look at how POTS affects jobs and money:

StatusPercentage (%)
Employed (last 3 months)48
Would work more hours if not for illness66.8
Lost income due to POTS symptoms70.5
Lost more than $10,000/year36.0
Spent over $10,000 on medical expenses51.1

In the study, 90.6% of people with POTS were women, around 28 years old. They struggled more in all health areas compared to others. Both their EQ-VAS and utility scores were lower, no matter their age.

Being a woman, feeling very dizzy, feeling very tired, and having another illness were linked to a worse life quality. The POTS group faced big health challenges, changing their lives and daily routines greatly.

Treatment Options for POTS

For managing POTS, treatments combine medicine, physical therapy, and other methods. These methods help stabilize heart rate, up blood volume, and boost autonomic function. This mix caters to the various symptoms and root causes of POTS.


Medication is key for POTS and is picked based on what the person needs. Fludrocortisone (Florinef) helps those with low blood volume. Clonidine (Catepres) helps when norepinephrine is high. For nerve issues, Pyridostigmine Bromide (Mestinon) is useful.

Medication TypeUsage
Mineralocorticoids (e.g., Fludrocortisone)Increases blood volume
Sympatholytics (e.g., Clonidine)Manages norepinephrine levels
Cholinesterase Inhibitors (e.g., Pyridostigmine Bromide)Addresses autonomic neuropathy
Vasoconstrictors (e.g., Midodrine, Droxidopa)Improves orthostatic tolerance
Antidiuretic (e.g., Desmopressin Acetate)Increases blood pressure

Physical Therapies

Physical therapy is a big part of rehab for POTS. It focuses on building strength and making symptoms easier to handle. Occupational therapy and exercise programs boost stamina carefully. Swimming and recumbent biking are also great.

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Graded Exercise Programs
  • Swimming
  • Recumbent Biking

Alternative Treatments

Alongside usual treatments, alternatives like acupuncture and herbal stuff might help. They’re liked by those wanting extra relief options. These aren’t to replace POTS medications but can be part of the overall treatment with a doctor’s advice.

A mix of treatments—medicine, therapy, and alternatives—offers a custom and effective way to manage POTS. Tailoring care to each person improves life quality and symptom control.

POTS Disability: Recognizing and Addressing Challenges

Understanding Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) as a disability is crucial. It helps provide the right support. Almost half of the people surveyed were working before they were impacted by POTS. Yet, POTS often leads to difficulty in getting disability recognition. This calls for kind and flexible responses from employers and places of learning.

Many who have POTS and work wish they could work more hours. Their health, however, doesn’t allow it. This shows the potential for more productivity if they received the right help. Sadly, a high number report losing income because of POTS. Many have also paid a lot for POTS-related healthcare costs. Addressing these issues is key for their economic well-being and career growth.

Job stability is a big problem for those with POTS. About 21% have lost jobs because of it. Sick days are frequent, and many can’t work for weeks. These facts highlight the huge effect of POTS on working abilities. It shows a strong need for adaptable work environments.

Adjustments at work are often necessary for those with POTS. Some need changes to their workplace, while others need shorter hours. These steps help keep them working. Help from financial aid programs is also important. Some get government help, but not as many get private benefits. Yet, those who do apply for private help often get it.

POTS affects up to three million people in the U.S., mainly women. It’s important to know POTS as a disability and support those who have it. By making people more aware and workspaces more welcoming, individuals with POTS can succeed despite challenges.


Understanding POTS is essential for millions impacted by it. The journey is hard, with symptoms that change daily life and work. Most people in the study are women, facing unique problems.

About half of the people could work before the survey. But POTS makes working hard for them. A lot wish to work more if they weren’t sick. Many lost money because of POTS, with 36.0% losing over $10,000 in a year.

Medical costs are a big problem, with more than half spending a lot since being diagnosed. Losing jobs and income is common among them. Many also can’t work for more than a week.

It affects not just the patients, but their families too. This shows we need better support and understanding of POTS and its effects.

Empowering patients is key in managing POTS. The dysautonomia community is vital for support. Being up-to-date with research and sharing stories helps improve health.

By working together, we can make lives better for those with POTS. It’s important to understand and support each other in this journey.


What is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)?

POTS is a chronic condition that affects how blood circulates in the body. It causes your heart rate to jump high when you stand up. Symptoms like dizziness, tiredness, and heart racing are common. It mostly affects women and young adults. Around 1 to 3 million Americans have it.

How does POTS affect the autonomic nervous system?

In POTS, the system that controls blood flow doesn’t work right. This leads to not enough blood getting pumped upward. So, your heart beats faster to try to fix this.

How is POTS different from orthostatic hypotension?

POTS and orthostatic hypotension both involve standing up problems. But, POTS is about your heart rate going up, not blood pressure dropping.

What are common symptoms of POTS?

Symptoms include feeling very tired, dizzy when standing, and having a fast heartbeat. People also report brain fog, headaches, feeling sick, shaking, chest pains, and not being able to exercise well.

How do POTS symptoms affect daily life?

POTS makes it hard to do everyday things, spend time with friends, or work. Changes in how someone lives are often needed because of their symptoms.

What are the potential causes of POTS?

Causes of POTS include nerve issues, stress hormones, and not enough blood. Genetics, past illnesses or surgeries, and autoimmune conditions might also matter.

What are the risk factors for developing POTS?

Risk factors are being a young woman, having certain genetic traits, past illness or surgery, and autoimmune disease. There might also be a link with COVID-19.

How is POTS diagnosed?

To diagnose POTS, doctors look at symptoms and do tests like the tilt table test. This measures how your heart rate and blood pressure change with different positions.

What is a tilt table test?

This test checks how your heart and blood pressure respond to being tilted. It’s used to figure out if you have POTS by seeing how your heart rate changes.

What is the standing test?

The standing test measures heart and blood pressure when you lie down and then stand. It helps diagnose POTS by looking for specific heart rate increases.

How can one manage POTS through daily management and lifestyle adjustments?

To manage POTS, drink more fluids, add salt to your diet, and do specific exercises. Medicines can help too. Getting support from doctors and groups who know about POTS is big.

What impact does POTS have on quality of life?

POTS can be mild or severe. It affects work, daily tasks, and social life. Many people feel very isolated because of their symptoms.

What are the treatment options for POTS?

Treatments include medicines to control heart rate and blood flow. Physical therapy and other options like acupuncture may also help with symptoms.

How does POTS affect work and employment?

POTS makes working hard for many. Around one in four report being unable to work. It’s really important to talk about it and make necessary changes at work or school.