Monday, June 14, 2010

How POTS affects me

A lot of people aren't really sure how POTS/Dysautonomia affects me. Since my primary problem (and a major one at that) was a headache for many months, a lot of people don't realize that I have a lot of other symptoms. Therefore, I thought I'd share with you what a day in the life of Robin is like and what my symptoms are.

My POTS symptoms -

  • Headache (duh!)
  • Dizziness with change in position (standing)
  • Tachycardia (elevated heart rate) when standing
  • Blackouts when standing
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Getting full quickly
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Exercise intolerance (by exercise I mean walking up a flight of stairs, taking a shower, or folding a load of laundry)
  • Inability to handle temperature extremes
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle weakness - especially in my hips, thighs and shoulders
  • Neurocognitive deficits (forgetfulness, "brain fog", difficulty finding the right word, etc.)
  • Tinnitus (ringing in my ears)

The longer I am on my feet, the worse all of those symptoms get. Towards the end of the day, if I have been sitting all day, those symptoms get worse as well. I usually lay down for awhile in the afternoon.

It doesn't take much for me to get fatigued. If I have to be on my feet for more than a few minutes to fix my lunch I usually have lost my appetite because I will be nauseous, tachycardic, and short of breath. If I do too much walking, my hips will be very weak and achy that night and all the next day.
My meds control my heart rate pretty well. Unfortunately, nothing has gotten rid of my headaches completely. Some days are just okay. Others are awful. The bad thing is that it never goes away. My pain is always at least a 2-3/10.

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