What’s POTS?

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a medical condition under the umbrella term Dysautonomia. Dysautonomia literally means dysfunction of autonomics- that is, anything your body does automatically, including things like maintaining heart rate and blood pressure, regulating body temperature and more. POTS is more specific in that it means that when my posture is orthostatic (standing), I get tachycardia (fast heart rate). Additional symptoms for me include dizziness, fatigue, poor blood circulation, brain fog (forgetfulness, cloudy mental processing) and fainting. I used to faint or nearly faint (syncope and near syncope if you’re keeping track of official terms) so often that I could rarely leave the house and when I did, had to use a wheelchair. I’ve also had a non-epilectic seizure due to lack of blood flow to my brain. In general, POTS severity varies greatly from individual to individual.

More information can be found at http://www.dynainc.org or http://www.dysautonomiainternational.org

Hemiplegic Migraines are a type of migraine in which you temporarily lose feeling on one side of your body and/or the ability to speak. It’s kind of like having a stroke for an hour, and then it goes away, leaving no permanent damage. More information can be found at http://www.migrainetrust.org/factsheet-hemiplegic-migraine-10913

I also get regular old Migraines without hemiplegia, as well as Abdominal Migraines. More information about types of migraines can be found at www.migraine.com/migraine-types/

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS) is characterized by episodes of severe vomiting that have no apparent cause. A cycle can last for hours or days. Upon further examination of symptoms, a link is often made to a trigger. For me personally, migraines trigger my CVS. More information can be found at www.cvsaonline.org

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain and deep fatigue. More information can be found at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/basics/definition/con-20019243

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is an inherited connective tissue disorder. There are multiple types, and I have Type III, also called Hypermobile type. In general, connective tissue supports everything from your muscles and ligaments to your skin, so having it be a little disordered means that you may experience things like hyperflexibility, stretchy fragile skin, and unstable joints. You know, in case I wasn’t achy enough! It does make yoga class extra fun, though EDS patients should be careful to protect their joints- just because you can stretch that way doesn’t mean you should. More information can be found at http://www.ednf.org/hypermobility-type

Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD) is an immune condition. Everyone has mast cells, which are essentially in helping your body recover from an allergic reaction. However, in MCAD, a person’s mast cells can be “activated” by a number of inappropriate triggers, causing an allergic or allergic-type reaction. For me, my mast cells make me prone to hot, itchy, redness. This can be from something as simple as touching something the “wrong way,” like when I brush gently against something or if a fabric is abrasive. Poof! Flushing, itching, uncomfortableness ensues. This also makes me more prone to allergic reactions from foods, chemicals, and airborne stimuli like perfumes and strong smells.

So, you know, fun stuff, these medical conditions!


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