Abby Drexler a contributing writer and media specialist for POTS Care who regularly produces content for a variety of health and wellness blogs shared with Healthy Lombard the following information about POTS.
What Is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome? Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is a condition that affects the human body’s circulatory system, including the blood vessels and heart. Patients refer to this condition as POTS syndrome, and it primarily affects females from the age of 15 to 50. However, it is possible for children to have POTS syndrome, and if a child has this condition, then their parents must understand how to manage the symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms Of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?
This circulatory problem manifests with an assortment of symptoms that include:
- Light-headedness while standing
- Rapid heartbeat at various times
- Intermittent fainting episodes
- Cognitive difficulties
- Overall weakness
- Blurry vision
In children, this condition might begin after a viral illness or surgery, and it is often combined with other medical issues such as chronic headaches or irritable bowel disease. Diagnosing POTS in children is difficult because the symptoms are similar to the ones in other conditions such as anemia, hyperthyroidism or dehydration.
What Causes Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?
The cause of POTS varies but can include these factors:
- Decrease in blood flow to the heart
- An unusually low blood volume
- An increase in heart rate to compensate for a low blood volume
- Constriction of the blood vessels
- Problems with neuropathy
- Chronic fatigue following an illness
Children with autoimmune disorders, diabetes mellitus or a gastrointestinal condition are more likely to have POTS as a secondary condition.
How Is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome Diagnosed?
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is diagnosed by checking a patient’s blood pressure changes while she reclines on a tilt table. A physician will want to exclude other medical issues such as endocrine conditions. Physicians will perform several tests on the heart to check its rhythm or to determine if there is a structural abnormality in the organ.
Children must understand the early symptoms of having a POTS episode in order to follow one or more of these tips.
Tip 1: Increasing Blood Volume In the Morning
When a child wakes up in the morning, she must begin to drink a lot of water to increase her blood volume. Experts recommend 10 servings of water early in the morning for adults, but the amount of water required for a child varies depending on the size of her body. A physician will provide a recommendation concerning how much water a child should drink in the morning.
Tip 2: Ingesting More Sodium
Children with POTS must also increase their sodium levels by drinking specialized beverages, adding salt to foods or taking salt tablets. The increase in sodium will raise a child’s blood pressure while increasing her body’s water retention. This helps to prevent a loss of blood volume that leads to the symptoms associated with POTS. During a fainting episode, it is also possible to administer saline solutions into the child’s bloodstream.
Tip 3: Increasing Physical Activity
Having a healthy body can reduce the dangers from POTS, so a parent must make sure that her child is exercising frequently. If the child has stronger muscles in the arms and legs, then it can improve the condition of the internal organs to prevent changes in blood circulation. Experts recommend aerobic exercise and endurance training to eliminate the health issues associated with POTS. Children who experience dizziness while exercising can use a recumbent bicycle instead.
Tip 4: Consuming Small Meals Several Times a Day
Rather than eating large meals, children with POTS should consume small meals several times a day. In addition, a parent should prepare meals and snacks that are low in carbohydrates. Children should avoid any foods or beverages that contain caffeine because this substance increases urination, leading to a reduction in the body’s blood volume.
Tip 5: Avoiding Hot Conditions
It is important for parents to keep a child with POTS away from hot conditions because the child will perspire. As a child perspires, she will lose body moisture and salt, leading to complications of dizziness from a loss of blood volume.
Tip 6: Wearing Compression Garments
Children can also wear compression garments that are designed for controlling the body’s blood pressure to prevent complications from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.