Recently after the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, an increase in the prevalence of POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome )has been observed by researchers and doctors. Let's learn what this condition is and its correlation with the virus.
What is POTS?
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is a condition in which the heart rate increases while the person changes their posture. The patient can pass out while standing thus this condition has a serious impact on the quality of life. POTS has not been well studied yet and hence the mysteries behind its working and etiology are still under heavy research.
What might cause POTS?
Many factors and theories have been put out to understand the pathophysiology of this syndrome. Neuropathic origins of this Syndrome have been traced by observing some faults in the autonomic nervous system for lower limbs. Norepinephrine levels have also been tied to the pathophysiology of this syndrome. Hypovolemic blood pressure is also a popular postulated theory. Aldosterone (a mineralocorticoid) found in the body is involved in blood pressure maintenance, low levels of this hormone also point out to the hypovolemic POTS. However, all these criteria can coexist and cause the pathophysiology of POTS in a patient.
Symptoms of POTS
Since POTS is described as an increase in heart rate, the most common symptom is heart palpitations. The heart rate upon standing can increase by more than 30 beats per minute. Dizziness and fatigue are also symptoms of the syndrome. Brain fog and anxiety along with gastrointestinal problems and tremors are more of the symptoms people with POTS experience. Fainting and passing out upon standing is also one of the common symptoms. Doctors eliminate all other possible health conditions before diagnosing someone with POTS. Hyperthyroidism, excessive dehydration, or other clinical manifestations are taken into account before the diagnosis.
POTS and COVID
Since we first mentioned that cases of POTS increased after the pandemic, researchers postulate a link between these conditions. To clarify, POTS can occur in any individual due to various reasons however its occurrence has definitely increased post-COVID. Many people who suffered from a COVID- 19 viral infection, reported symptoms of POTS. This could be due to its similarity with autoimmune conditions. POTS has been found to act a lot like autoimmune conditions (found mainly among the female population, increase in interleukins). Thus, like many autoimmune conditions, it can also be triggered by a viral infection. Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus have been linked to several viral infections. More research on SARS-COV-2 virus and POTS is going on.
POTS predominantly affects the premenopausal female population and has only been well-studied in caucasian populations. Its correlation with the SARS-CoV-2 virus has put more light on the condition. A
Zhao S, Tran VH. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. [Updated 2023 Aug 7]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541074/