Unless you or a loved one suffers from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS, you likely have never heard of this condition. That's because, although it's fairly common, everyone's experience with POTS is different. Therefore, it can be difficult to make a definitive diagnosis.
POTS is one of several types of dysautonomia, which are conditions that target the body's autonomic nervous system. This system regulates many of the involuntary actions that allow the body to function. One of its functions is to regulate blood flow. For example, when a person stands, a great deal of blood flows down to the lower parts of the body. The autonomic nervous system helps to redistribute the blood where it is needed in the upper body. When it's not working properly, the flow of blood to the brain is affected and the person can suffer from dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and many other side effects.
POTS is relatively new and there are no definitive treatment guidelines, but with diet, physical therapy, and medications, the symptoms can be greatly reduced. This article outlines some dietary changes you can make to relieve the severity of symptoms.
Dietary Tips for Symptom Relief
The following tips may help you reduce some of the symptoms of POTS. If you find relief, it may even help you determine whether POTS is the cause of those symptoms.
- Increase fluid intake: Increasing your intake of water or other healthy fluids can increase your hydration, blood pressure, and reduce the likelihood of light-headedness and dizziness.
- Increase sodium intake: Increasing sodium intake, usually in the form of table salt or salt pills, conserves water, and maintains blood volume and pressure.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently: Digestion causes blood to congregate in the digestive tract, limiting blood in the extremities. Eating smaller meals at a sitting lessens this effect.
- Reduce alcohol consumption: Alcohol stops blood vessels from tightening, which stops the blood from returning to the head and upper body. This can lead to low blood pressure, light-headedness, and fainting.
- Avoid energy drinks: They contain a lot of caffeine, which can exacerbate POTS symptoms.
- Avoid gluten and dairy: Some people have food intolerances that can cause gastric disturbances. These can cause loss of fluids and lowered blood pressure.
POTS causes different symptoms in each individual, and therefore, no one treatment will work for all cases. It's important to take note of what works to help your POTS symptoms and continue with those dietary changes. Contact a POTS syndrome treatment service for more information.