Why POTS is a Big Deal
Those who have POTS know how much of a life-changer it can be. Most of us were very active before we became ill.
Doctors write off POTS because it “isn’t life threatening,” aside from the danger of fainting and getting injured in the process. They advise us to drink lots of water, take salt pills, take beta blockers, and wear compression stockings. Unfortunately, more often than not, this just isn’t enough.
Do doctors understand how serious POTS is? I believe that some do, but most don’t. I was recently talking with a friend that told me her heart rate goes up 70+ beat per minute just from going from sitting to standing. Her doctor insists that nothing is wrong and that it is “just anxiety.” That just breaks my heart. And I know that her story is all too common for POTS patients.
There is nothing normal about having your heart rate go up that fast from simply standing up. And there is definitely nothing normal about fainting regularly.
Before I became ill with POTS, I was exercising all the time. It wouldn’t be rare for me to go skiing, cycling, and rock climbing all in one day. Fitness was a passion of mine. Then one day, I became dizzy warming up for a climbing competition. I didn’t think too much of it, other than that I must be coming down with something. Little did I know that this sickness would continue for well over a year (and still continues).
My tolerance for exercise was gone overnight. Every time I tried to exercise, I became out of breath, light-headed, and faint. That can’t be normal.
When I get out of bed in the morning, I feel close to passing out. When getting ready for work, my heart rate is often 150+. I can feel the blood rushing to my ankles and it hurts to be standing. That can’t be normal either.
It’s an awful feeling that I just can’t seem to escape no matter what I try.
I tell my story to illustrate the effect that POTS is having on people. I’ve had several other chronic illnesses such as: celiac disease, anemia, mono, and TMD. None have even compared to the challenges I face with POTS.
According to research, many POTS patients have a similar quality of life to those that have heart failure. This to me shows how big of a deal POTS is.
I know that there are doctors that treat POTS seriously, and I am so thankful to them. This illness so very real and is affecting many people. I hope that one day doctors will find a cure, and that we will get our quality of life back.