What is PoTS?
- Postural position of the body
- Tachycardia increased heart rate
- Syndrome a combination of symptoms
Postural tachycardia syndrome is an abnormality of the functioning of the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. To be diagnosed with PoTS, an individual must experience a group of symptoms in the upright position (usually standing) that are relieved by lying down. A persistent increase in heart rate of 30 beats per minute (40 bpm if under 19 years of age) should be recorded within ten minutes of standing. Blood pressure (BP) does not always drop in PoTS.
The Autonomic Nervous System
The Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS) is an abnormality of the autonomic nervous system (sometimes called ‘dysautonomia’). The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is in charge of all bodily functions that we don’t have to think about, such as:
- Heart rate and blood pressure regulation
- Bladder control
- Stress response
The sympathetic nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system. It produces the ‘fight or flight’ or ‘stress’ response. When activated, a chemical called norepinephrine is released. Amongst other things, this causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
What should happen to my blood when I stand up?
What happens when I have PoTS and stand up?
Written by: PoTS UK Team
Medically approved by: Dr John Purvis and Dr Satish Raj
Review date: 1/2/2018