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What Is POTS (Post Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, explores Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS). 

What is PoTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)?

PoTS is a relevantly common autonomic nervous system disorder. Individuals with PoTS have a heart rate rise of 30 beats per minute (bpm) or more within 10 minutes of standing, yet their blood pressure does not decrease significantly. This surge is often accompanied by symptoms that vary from moderate to severe.

“PoTS is considered an ‘invisible illness’ because others don’t see its symptoms,” says” Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“This can make it challenging for onlookers to understand the severity of the condition and its impact on daily life, leading to a lack of recognition and empathy towards those suffering from it.” 

Symptoms of PoTS

PoTS presents a wide array of symptoms, making it a condition that can easily be misunderstood or misdiagnosed. Beyond the characteristic rapid heartbeat upon standing, individuals may experience:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue, often described as overwhelming or debilitating
  • Palpitationsor the sensation of a racing heart
  • Chest pain
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Tremours
  • Heat intolerance
  • Brain fog, affecting concentration and memory
  • Exercise intolerance

The Causes of PoTS

Researchers don’t understand the causes of PoTS, but it is more common in women than men and is more likely to develop in adolescents and young adults. In some cases, PoTS appears following a viral infection, surgery, trauma, or pregnancy, suggesting a potential autoimmune component. Genetic predispositions may also play a role, as the condition sometimes clusters within families.


Diagnosing PoTS can be a prolonged journey due to the overlap of its symptoms with other conditions. A tilt table test is a standard diagnostic tool that measures the patient’s rate and blood pressure reactions to changes in position. Additional tests may include blood work, EKGs, and assessments for underlying conditions that might mimic or contribute to PoTS symptoms.


Managing PoTS often requires a combination of lifestyle adjustments, dietary changes, medication, and sometimes physical therapy. Key strategies include:

Increased Salt and Fluid Intake: To expand blood volume and improve blood flow.

Graduated Exercise Programme: Initially focusing on recumbent exercises to gradually improve cardiovascular fitness without exacerbating symptoms.

Medications: Beta-blockers or fludrocortisone can be used to manage heart rate and blood volume. 

Compression Garments: To aid blood flow from the lower body to the heart.

Living with PoTS

The impact of PoTS extends beyond the physical symptoms. The condition’s fluctuating and often invisible nature can lead to misunderstandings, affecting social relationships, education, and employment. Emotional and mental health support is integral to managing PoTS and acknowledging the condition’s impact on an individual. 


A Glimpse of Hope

The growing awareness and research into PoTS are sources of hope for those affected. Online communities and patient advocacy groups have become invaluable resources, providing support, sharing management strategies, and disseminating the latest research findings.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products is designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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