Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a rare condition that affects the central nervous system and blood circulation. Though its name seems complex, it is extremely descriptive. Postural refers to body position. Orthostatic also references the body’s position but typically describes dizziness and blood pressure changes. Tachycardia is rapid heartbeat. Syndrome means that the condition is not a disease itself, but rather a group of symptoms that often develop alongside each other.
There are two main types of POTS: partial dysautonomia and hyperadrenergic. Partial dysautonomia often causes mild nerve damage that affects various involuntary functions and prevents the blood vessels from maintaining ideal blood pressure when the pull of gravity changes. These changes occur with actions such as standing up. Blood may begin to pool in the lower body. Hyperadrenergic POTS is less common and develops much more slowly. Additionally, it may have a genetic, inheritable component. In some cases, POTS is the result of a pre-existing condition. This form of the syndrome is secondary POTS.
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