What Is POTS??

What Is POTS??

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Living With Pots

The first thing you should do in the morning is to drink a big glass of water or Gatorade. You shouldn't stand straight up either. Sit up for a few minutes and then stand up slowly.

Increase Fluid and Salt Intake

Most patients need to increase their fluid and salt intake to increase their blood volume, due to hypervolemia, venous pooling of blood in the lower body, and hypotension.  You should drink about 2 liters of water and consume 3-6 grams of salt a day.  Six grams of salt is 1 tsp. The exception is the hyperadrenergic subtype of POTS.  Here is a list of some ideas for getting extra salt into your diet:

Bread products
Corned beef
Mustard, prepared yellow
Pasta sauce
Salted nuts
Smoked meat and Fish
Soy sauce
Stock cubes
Tomato ketchup


When you eat a big meal, a large part of your blood is diverted to the digestive tract to help with digestion. This can cause your POTS symptoms to get worse. Eating smaller meals throughout the day will help.

Eating a low carb, high protein diet is helpful. Avoid refined sugar and flour. Low-fat proteins such as salmon, chicken breasts, and low-fat yogurt are good choices.

Some people have gluten intolerance called Celiac Disease. There are blood tests for this. Dairy may also be an issue. Some people are allergic to dairy and some have lactose intolerance.

Some patients find caffeine to be helpful, but others get worse symptoms after drinking caffeine.

Alcohol dehydrates your body, so it can cause you to get worse hypotension.

You need to pay attention to how you feel after you eat and adjust your diet accordingly.

You can sit down on a stool while you are making your meals in order to make it easier. You can also cook a double batch of recipes on a good day and freeze some for later.

Keeping Your Head Elevated

It helps to recondition your body to orthostatic stress to slightly elevate your head when you sleep. It also helps with GERD and gastric motility problems. In order to elevate your head, you can raise the head of your bed with bricks or large books. It isn't recommended to use a wedge pillow because this basically causes a bend in the middle of your body and blood can pool around your lower abdomen. You need to have the whole body on a slant so that your feet are lower than your hips.


Compression hose and for some abdominal binders, can be helpful. They work by lowering the amount of venous pooling and hypotension. The hose  will work better if they are te 30 mmHg type and are waist high. Some insurance will pay at least partially if you have a prescription from your doctor. They come in all sorts of colors and patterns. If you get your first pair fitted at a medical supply store, it may cost more. But after that, you can buy them wherever you want. http://ihpotblogspot.blogspot.com/2016/09/compression-stockingshose.html


This can be a problem for POTSies. But it is important to get some. Since standing isn't going to work, you can do things like reclined aerobic exercise, recumbent bikes, and swimming. Exercises for Dysautonomia Patients

There is a procedure you can do called counter-maneuvers. You cross your legs and tense the muscles. It is supposed to reduce your symptoms you get from standing. But it is always best to sit or lay down if you get really dizzy or feel faint so that you don't get hurt from falling down.

Try to avoid standing for long periods of time because it makes your POTS worse. Similarly to the counter-maneuvers, if you flex and squeeze your legs, feet, and buttocks muscles, or shift from one foot to the other it will help with your symptoms. It helps your body to pump blood back up to the heart.

I find that a shower chair comes in pretty handy. When you take a shower standing up, as I said above, it will make your symptoms worse. Hot or cold showers will make you worse too. Try to keep the water temperature lukewarm.  Extremes in temperature, especially heat make symptoms worse. Since it will probably tire you out to take a shower, it helps to take one right before bedtime. When you wash your hair, it helps to bend over at the waist and put your head upside down, the way you do when you wash your hair in the sink. This is helpful because raising your hands above your head will make your POTS symptoms worse.

To keep yourself cool, there are things like sun shirts, hats, hand-held misters, and personal fans. Clothes that dry quickly and wick moisture away help you keep an even body temperature.

Wheelchairs and scooters are necessary for some people. This may be psychologically hard for some people. But if your symptoms are bad enough, you really need these. They will make it easier for you to do more things because you won't have to stand and walk as much and you will have less chance of falling. You will have to contact your DMV and find out what is required to qualify for one of the disability placards.

If you can't get around any other way, or safely, wheelchairs and scooters are better than not being able to get out at all. And you might only need them on a bad day.

Medication List

You should carry a list of all of your medicines, what the dosage is and how often you take them. Microsoft Word makes it pretty easy to make a table for this. You also need to include food and drug allergies and emergency contacts. Most cell phones have an ICE in the contacts now. You should also have a list of your medical conditions, especially POTS or other dysautonomias. You would be surprised how many EMTs and ER doctors don't know what it is.
You can find printable ones here:

Here are some more resources.

POTS What To Avoid

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