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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) / Orthostatic Intolerance Research

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) / Orthostatic Intolerance Research


Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is the term used to describe a set of symptoms that impact over a million individuals throughout the country. POTS is not likely a single disorder, but rather a description of symptoms that likely have multiple underlying causes. In many ways this classification is more like an umbrella that covers a diverse group of individuals who tend to exhibit similar symptoms but with numerous underlying causal mechanisms. Since little is currently known about how these underlying mechanisms work, much of the therapy is aimed at treating symptoms, determining testing methods as well as establishing effective treatment plans.

As you review the medical literature, you will find a vast array of terminology that is used to describe the same basic condition. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Chronic Orthostatic Intolerance, Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome as well as Idiopathic Orthostatic Intolerance are all terms that are interchangeably used by physicians. The result for the patient can be multiple labels being used to describe the same condition - a dysfunction with your autonomic nervous system.

In the past few years, there have been a few rare findings identifying genetic mechanisms as the underlying cause of POTS for several families. Additionally, researchers have also described an autonomic autoimmune condition for a very small number of patients exhibiting POTS symptoms. These findings may point the way to future research discoveries.

As you view these journal articles keep in mind that research findings often may point to conflicting results. A single study's results may not be able to be duplicated, or may be contradicted by results from another study. Generalizations are very hard to make, and for the most part, a highly individualized therapy program has to be designed for each patient.

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