To promote a complete understanding of POTS, I created this dictionary of terms commonly used throughout the POTS Center.
Autoimmune – An autoimmune condition is one where the body’s immune system attacks systems or organs in the body
Autonomic Dysfunction – Dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system.
Autonomic Nervous System – Also known as the ANS, think of this as the involuntary nervous system. A system that controls automatic reflexes required for normal body functioning such as heart rate and breathing rate. When under times of stress, the ANS kicks in to make sure reflexes are coordinated appropriately. When scared this increased the heart rate for example. When standing this makes sure blood is distributed appropriately in the body, a problem in POTS.
Cardiac Output – The volume of blood put out by the heart, usually expressed in liter per minute.
Cognitive Function – Intellectual functioning, episodic impairment of this is often known by POTS patients as brain fog.
Dependent Acrocyanosis – dark red or bluish color to the legs typically on standing.
Dysautonomia – Dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system.
Ehlers Danlos – an inherited disorder of connective tissues, the tissues found in the skin, the blood vessels, and joints. Connective tissue allows those tissues to have strength and elasticity. For this reason Ehlers-Danlos sufferers have flexible joints and fragile skin.
Hyperadrenergic – basically means high adrenaline. See here for detailed description of hyperadrenergic & other types of POTS.
Neuropathic – basically means nerve disease. See here for detailed description of neuropathic POTS.
Orthostatic/Orthostasis – Standing up.
Orthostatic Intolerance – Inability to tolerate standing due to symptoms.
Orthostatic Tachycardia – Fast heart rate on standing up
POTS – Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Defined as Heart rate increase of 30 beats per minute or more within 10 minutes of being upright (40 beats per minute for those aged 12-19). There should not be associated low blood pressure. May be accompanied by symptoms of lack of blood to the brain. These symptoms are relieved by sitting or lying down.
Tachycardia – Fast heart rate
Tilt Table Test – A test used in the diagnosis of POTS.
Sue Williams says
I found this article to be very interesting, and well done. I am a Senior Citizen, in good health, except for a very slow heart rate. Some days worse
than others. All of the test on my heart, so far, have been good. They think I had a heart attack possibly, about 3 years ago. My heart rate is
in the high 30’s, and low forties. I am extremely tired. My heart Doctor does not see the need for an Angiogram due to my age. Says it is too
dangerous. Otherwise, I am very active, never smoked, have lived a good life.
I enjoy your articles, and we should see more of them. Please thank the Doctor who wrote the above. SW
TERI TOWERS says
I can’t believe I found this article by chance. After reading it, I realized this has been happening to me for the past 40 years. I have been so used to the symptoms that I just ignore them and actually find some of them as pleasant.
Are there benefits to receiving a diagnosis or can I go about business as usual?
I have been fighting these symptoms since I was 13 and I am now 65! I’ve seen so many doctors I lost count years ago. My condition has greatly worsened in the last few years. I am once again bouncing from doctor to doctor. The only diagnosis so far is tachycardia. Believe it or not, I was elated that at last someone had found something wrong with me! Doctors didn’t take me seriously when I was younger because I presented as a well person and nothing could be found through testing. I have every symptom of POTS, even the rare ones. I’m scheduled to see a Rheumatologist in a few weeks and a Neurologist in February. The only doctor left for me to see after that is a surgeon. If none of these doctors can provide a diagnosis I have nowhere else to go.
I am 50 yrs old .i was just diagnosed like a month ago. I believe i have had this since my 20s . It went away and came back severe in my 40s . It has made my life so different . There things i cant do anymore . This article helped to understand a bit more and hopefully help me to cope . Its not an easy thing to have. Its hard to manage also when you have been healthy most of your life.
Nattasha Tamarapa says
These symptoms I have all tor the last 8 years gradually progressively worse since end of last year the MRI scan and ct scan were clear since drinking water the last few months more headaches have got better so much but the last few weeks since my dr visit the dizziness and nausea is get worse again si frustrated as I cant even walk uptown without get fatigue get fatigue just sitting nausea dizziness daily and I cant clean it stand long to clean its frustrating please give me answers
Kristie Ross says
I was just diagnosed three days ago . I’m scared and trying to find out what I can eat what I shouldn’t . How to keep my heart rate down and to go on with life.