POTS, an often misdiagnosed blood-flow disorder

Ohio residents should know that there is a blood-flow disorder out there that is often misdiagnosed. Called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, it affects the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for involuntary movements like heart rate and blood pressure. Between 1 and 3 million Americans suffer from POTS, yet one study found that patients must see an average of seven doctors over four years before receiving a POTS diagnosis.

Another study discovered that nearly half of POTS patients are initially diagnosed as having a psychiatric disorder like anxiety or depression. There are a couple reasons for this mistake. POTS is little-known, and it occurs mostly in women under 35. Women are generally more prone to depression, and being young, they usually have no previous physical ailments before they experience POTS symptoms.

POTS is characterized by orthostatic intolerance. Too little blood returns to the heart when patients go from lying down to standing up, leading to dizziness, heart palpitations, nausea and diarrhea.

There is no single medical treatment for POTS, though certain lifestyle changes that help increase blood pressure and blood volume are known to help. Doctors may prescribe certain medications, too, like fludrocortisone and midodrine. Doctors do not know the cause of POTS, though certain events apparently trigger it, such as pregnancy, surgery and the incurring of trauma.

POTS patients who are misdiagnosed and harmed as a result of the delay or as a result of unnecessary treatments may have a valid medical malpractice claim. They may want a lawyer to assess their case first, though.