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Young People Can Have More Wrong Than "Anxiety"

Brittany, age 24, Califonia

I was diagnosed with POTS in 2021 after rushing to the hospital during a POTS episode. The episode ended and the emergency department concluded that I had been experiencing severe anxiety and palpitations. I was referred to a cardiologist who reviewed the EKG’s taken at the ER and immediately ordered a 48-hour heart monitor, a treadmill stress test, full cardiac ultrasound, and a 2 week continuous EKG. I was diagnosed with POTS and put on metoprolol immediately.

I have made a few lifestyle changes, such as increasing my daily sodium intake to 10g (thanks to salt tabs), wearing compression socks at night, and consuming 2L of water per day. I visit my cardiologist every 4 months for continued monitoring, and my current health plan is working really well for me.

Since I was old enough to complain about the uncomfortable symptoms, my illness has been brushed off as anxiety. I had been going to doctors throughout my childhood complaining of my heart “feeling funny”. Doctors would say that my heart sounded healthy and since I was young and active I had nothing to worry about. A few doctors ran EKG’s but of course since I was not having an episode, the EKG’s were clear.

POTS has taught me to never judge a book by its cover. From the outside I look like a young, healthy, active girl. And while I am young and active, I am living with a disorder of my autonomic nervous system. My treatment is working excellent for me but without it, I am not healthy.

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