Hearing a diagnosis for your child is a scary event for anyone, but one that has life threatening consequences can be devastating. In the modern world of medical technology, however, we know how to treat and minimize the effects of damaging conditions so that most patients can lead normal, productive lives. POTS syndrome is a condition that is increasing in occurrence, and with recent studies, it has shown that this condition is manageable with the proper precautions and awareness of onset of symptoms. The following information will assist you in dealing with a diagnosis of POTS disease for your child, and taking steps to ensure that they lead happy, healthy lives.
What is POTS Syndrome?
POTS syndrome, or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, is a condition that results in the inability of the body to return blood flow to the heart and brain after a period of rest, lying down or other inactivity. This inefficiency of proper blood flow can result in dizziness, fainting spells, and even longer periods of lost consciousness. Children with a POTS diagnosis need to be made aware of signs and symptoms immediately preceding a fainting or black out period so they can position themselves safely while enduring the readjustment period. Children and parents that are taught to recognize these signs will reduce risk of injury to themselves and to others.
Who develops POTS syndrome?
Anyone at any age can develop POTS syndrome, although it is most common for the following:
- Females ages 15-50, or anyone who is menstruating
- Anyone who has endured a traumatic loss of blood or a surgery
- People who suffer from preexisting heart conditions where cardiac efficiency is already compromised
Due to symptom onset, sufferers of POTS can be unable to resume normal levels of activity. This can be frustrating, in particular, with young children who desire to run and play–their natural form of exercise.
How does POTS develop? What are its causes and symptoms?
Despite knowledge of how to now combat POTS syndrome, doctors and medical professionals still are not sure what causes this condition. Some schools of thought point to a neurological malfunction, others to hypersensitivity to hormone production that causes the symptoms to occur. The primary symptom to look for in patients with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is dizziness and lightheadedness, often fainting spells, accompanied by a rapid increase in heart rate, usually over a ten minute period after rising. Symptoms can be relieved immediately by lying down or resting again.
Effective Treatments and Therapies for POTS Patients
Many therapies for POTS are targeted at relieving the condition of low blood volume and eliminating or reducing circulatory issues. Although there is not a singular treatment that is effective for all, patients have found success with prescription drugs, at least for the short term. Simple things like increasing fluid intake and increasing salt intake are also effective strategies for reducing symptomatic discomfort. Exercise therapy is also effective for some patients suffering from POTS.
Good News For Sufferers of POTS Syndrome
Although symptoms tend to appear quickly, and can come and go for years, eighty percent of patients report that at some point, symptoms either subside, or the condition becomes manageable with intervention. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)conducts regular research on POTS, and is finding more and more information to treat and reverse symptoms in patients. With proper lifestyle management, such as healthy eating, proper fluid intake, and regular exercise, many patients see dramatic improvements to their symptoms and their overall quality of life.
A diagnosis of POTS syndrome does not have to be a sentence that you or your child live with for the long term. Making sure that caregivers and school officials know about the condition and treatment are keys to making sure that symptoms are recognized and subsequently treated. Keeping up to date on the latest medical advances with respect to this condition will ensure that you have all the tools at your disposal for living a normal, healthy life.