Health and Fitness

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome: Facts You Should Know

Written by danielleo

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS for short, is a condition that affects the autonomic nervous system and causes the heart rate to increase dramatically upon standing. The autonomic nervous system controls things like blood flow to your organs, digestion, and breathing. When you stand up after sitting or lying down, gravity pulls on your body fluids which can cause an increased heart rate. 

For some people with POTS, it’s not just their legs that are affected by this phenomenon – they also experience a racing pulse in other parts of the body, such as their neck and head. This blog post will discuss important facts that you need to know about Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS attack.


What Are The Types Of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?

There are 4 types of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome:

  • Neuropathic POTS Attack

A majority of POTS cases are neuropathic. These can be caused by any neurological illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and cerebral palsy. The symptoms in this type of POTS attack will typically go away once the person is lying down or sitting up again – but it could take a little time for them to recover fully.

  • Hyperadrenergic POTS Attack

This type of POTS attack is caused by high levels of the hormone epinephrine, commonly known as adrenaline. It’s often seen in people with chronic illnesses that use beta-blockers to manage their symptoms. This can lead to an irregular heart rate when they stand up due to a lack of blood flow returning from the lower parts of the body.

  • Hypovolemic POTS Attack

A hypovolemic POTS attack occurs when there is a significant drop in blood volume. This can happen because of dehydration, excessive sweating during exercise or hot weather, prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, heavy menstrual periods, and even being born with an abnormally low level of fluid around the brain.

  • Secondary POTS

Secondary POTS is any type of POTS that occurs after an illness or injury such as lupus, diabetes, Lyme disease, etc.

Symptoms of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome symptoms can vary from person to person, but there are some common ones that everyone who suffers from it will experience.


  • A racing heart rate when rising after being sitting or lying down for a while.
  • Lightheadedness, feeling faint or dizzy.
  • A headache that is triggered by standing up or sitting down.
  • Unusual sleep patterns, either sleeping a lot during the day or not feeling refreshed after nighttime sleep.
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Cold hands or feet that become warm when lying down for some time.


What Are The Causes Of  Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?

It’s not clear what causes Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, but it may be due to an autonomic disorder. It can also happen from various medical conditions such as:

  • Heart Problems
  • Kidney Problems
  • Blood Sugar Imbalances/Diabetes
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid)
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia

Some people are more likely to experience Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome if they have a family history of it.


Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is a rare condition that can create severe symptoms of lightheadedness and fainting. It typically occurs in young adults, but it has been found to happen at any age. In some cases, the syndrome may be triggered by exertion or anxiety, while other times, there seems to be no cause. The condition can be challenging to diagnose, and the only way to know for sure is through a tilt table test at a hospital or other medical facility.


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