Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, causes people to suffer from lightheadedness and a racing heartbeat just from standing up or moving a little too quickly. This condition isn’t generally dangerous on its own, but it could lead to serious injuries if someone doesn’t know they have it and take the wrong medications or fall and hurt themselves.
POTS isn’t necessarily easy to diagnose, but it is possible to diagnose it by ruling out other conditions and taking a person’s orthostatic vital signs. Cardiologists look for signs of the heart rate rising within 10 minutes of standard and going up by 30 or more beats per minute during that time. One unique aspect of POTS is that the blood pressure remains largely stable, dropping the systolic blood pressure by no more than 20 mm Hg.
Combined with orthostatic intolerance, which means getting lightheaded or fatigued, most cardiologists can diagnose this or other heart-related conditions.
What can patients expect if they’re diagnosed with POTS?
There are some helpful treatments people can use to prevent lightheadedness, fatigue and fainting from POTS. Taking in more sodium is one option, as is introducing gradual exercise and using compression garments to help with circulation. Drinking more fluids can also be a big help, since this boosts blood volume. People with POTS may need up to three times more sodium than people without it.
Failing to diagnose a patient could lead to dangerous circumstances
A patient who isn’t diagnosed correctly with POTS could end up facing life-threatening issues. They could fall due to fainting, for example, leading to serious injuries. The condition itself isn’t life-threatening, but not knowing that the condition is present could lead to people doing things they normally would not.
You deserve to know your health and get the answers you need
A missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis could also lead to taking unnecessary medications or receiving treatments for conditions that a patient does not have. If you have been misdiagnosed or were not diagnosed when you should have been, you may be able to hold your healthcare provider accountable and take steps to seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim.