Hannah, age 28, Massachusetts
I developed POTS around July of 2021. My first symptoms were decreased exercise tolerance, heart palpitations, and tiredness. I went to the doctor and multiple tests were run, but showed no abnormalities. The heart palpitations and fatigue persisted and interfered with my work as a veterinary technician. I began having dizzy spells, and would feel faint frequently throughout the day. I was a student at the time and was struggling to keep up with classes and full time work.
By the Fall of 2021, my appetite was so poor that I dropped 20 lbs in a couple of months time. I caught COVID in December of 2021, spent a week in the hospital for respiratory complications, and subsequently my symptoms of heart palpitations, fatigue, and lightheadedness worsened to the point that I could not get out of bed for weeks. I had tremors in my hands and feet, and struggled to think and remember things I would usually have no trouble remembering.
I had autonomic testing in March of 2022, after an echocardiogram and several MRIs of my brain, cervical and thoracic spine showed nothing. I was diagnosed with POTS shortly after. Months of physical therapy, lifestyle changes such as increased fluid intake/salt intake, and trials of medication helped me get to where I can ambulate and work again, although now I work a desk job at a veterinary office.
I participate in support groups with other individuals who have POTS. I have returned to my hobbies as I am able, which include horse riding, building miniature models, and painting. POTS is something I live with everyday, and there are certainly weeks where my symptoms flare up and keep me in bed, but I do my best to not let POTS define who I am. It can be really challenging and often times, discouraging living with an invisible illness, so I am super thankful for the wonderful people I have met through support groups.
Favorite ways to get salt: Nuun tablets and liquid IV
Worst symptom: dizziness and fatigue