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Is POTS a Heart Problem?

Perhaps one of your first symptoms was palpitations or chest pain.

My first symptom of POTS was chest pain with the pain spreading down my left arm and up the left side of my face.

The first cardiologist I visited looked quite concerned and gave me a prescription for nitroglycerin.

I then had a battery of tests (stress test, EKG, echocardiogram, etc.). I mostly only saw cardiologists. Even my POTS diagnosis was from a cardiologist.

Since I was mostly visiting cardiologists, everyone that knew me knew that I had a “heart problem”.

Since it took years to get diagnosed, by that point, I was pretty sure that something was wrong with my heart. I was scared to exercise or to push myself for fear of making my condition worse. I’ve seen this with many of my clients as well.

POTS symptoms are frightening with palpitations, dizziness, trembling, blurry vision, chest pain, etc.

But POTS is a form of dysautonomia, which means that it’s a disorder of the autonomic nervous system. That is the branch of the nervous system that regulates things like heart rate and blood pressure.

So, it’s the nervous system that’s out of whack, not the heart. POTS symptoms are worse when you’re upright, as the blood pools in the lower half of the body.

So the nervous system corrects and tightens the blood vessels, and the heart rate increases further. This can cause chest pain, skipped beats, forceful heartbeats, etc.

Since the symptoms of POTS resemble symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, doctors will test for issues with the heart before giving a diagnosis of POTS.

Once I realized that there was nothing wrong with my heart, I felt much more confident in moving my body, and when these attacks happened, it helped me to know that it was my nervous system that was acting up and not my heart.

Although POTS is not life-threatening, it is debilitating. POTS can be as disabling as congestive heart failure.

But luckily there’s a lot that can be done to minimize symptoms and regain your energy.

If you’re interested in working with me on that, join my waiting list today to find out about future options for coaching.


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