POTS Diagnosis Offers Hope And Treatment For People With Long-Haul COVID-19 : Shots – Health News – NPR

Jennifer Minhas had been a nurse for many years when she contracted COVID-19 in 2020. Ever since, sticking around symptoms– whats referred to as long-haul COVID-19– made it difficult for her to work. For months, she and her medical professionals had a hard time to understand what was behind her fatigue and quick heartbeat, to name a few symptoms.

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Jennifer Minhas had been a nurse for many years when she contracted COVID-19 in 2020. Ever since, lingering signs– whats known as long-haul COVID-19– made it impossible for her to work. For months, she and her physicians struggled to comprehend what lagged her fatigue and quick heartbeat, to name a few signs.

Tara Pixley for NPR

In the months after she first got ill with COVID-19 in March 2020, Jennifer Minhas established a cluster of strange symptoms. “I had extensive fatigue,” she states, along with brain fog, headaches and a rapid heart beat, especially when she changed positions from lying down to standing. “Just standing up to make a sandwich, my heart rate would be 120,” remembers Minhas, a 54-year-old nurse who lives in San Diego. A normal heartbeat for an adult ranges between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Doctors ordered tests to eliminate cardiovascular disease. They all came back normal. The medical professionals couldnt find anything, Minhas states. About the same time she developed another weird symptom that offered a hint to her condition. “I would awaken in the middle of the night with burning feet and hands, and I would look down and my feet would be brilliant red,” Minhas says. In addition, she continued to feel a tightness in her chest, and the brain fog was so intense sometimes, she says, she could not keep in mind a four-digit code for her phone.

POTS is a kind of dysautonomia, which comes from dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system. Thats the part of the worried system that works automatically to control body functions such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and food digestion. If youve never ever heard of POTS, do not be surprised. “Theres been a lack of awareness” of the condition, even within the medical community, says Dr. Tae Chung, a POTS professional at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. The syndrome is estimated to affect about 1 million to 3 million individuals in the U.S.– most commonly females, young people and adolescents. The COVID-19 pandemic has actually brought new attention and many new detected cases.

Her symptoms became so extreme that she stopped working. “Normally Im extremely active. I used to play tennis and go to the fitness center,” she says. However all this activity came to a halt. Yet doctors could not describe what was wrong. In the beginning, her medical care medical professional thought it was stress and anxiety. “It was troubling,” Minhas states, and “sticking around method too long without a proper response.” However she stood firm, identified to “dig in and look for answers.” And months later on, in late 2020, an advancement: A group of cardiologists at the University of California, San Diego helped lead her to a diagnosis of a little-known and mercurial condition: postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, a blood circulation condition. A growing variety of individuals are facing mountains of frustration over illness that stick around after COVID-19 without any clear course to improvement. But for a subset of people with whats referred to as “long COVID”– mostly ladies such as Minhas– a POTS diagnosis offers a road map to treatment alternatives and relief from their often-debilitating symptoms. COVID-19 brings brand-new cases, brand-new awareness The medical professionals informed Minhas that they had actually started to see other clients after COVID-19 who had established similar signs. They described to her that an issue with her nervous system was causing her heart to race, normally upon standing– a signature function of the syndrome– and the circulatory problems.

Minhas, with her 8-month-old puppy Murphy, says she felt relief after getting diagnosed with POTS, a blood circulation condition, and her health is enhancing slowly with treatment.

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POTS has overlapping functions with persistent fatigue syndrome, including fatigue and brain fog, and specialists who treat it say POTS has actually had some of the same challenges as CFS in getting recognition. “Even though 90% of individuals with POTS are females, males in fact get diagnosed with POTS a typical two years much faster than women,” states Lauren Stiles, who was diagnosed with POTS in her early 30s and is the co-founder and president of Dysautonomia International, a not-for-profit client advocacy and research group. If a clients heart rate leaps significantly when the table goes up and the symptoms are recreated with that motion, thats a strong indicator of POTS, Chung states.

Specialists state a small piece of people with long-haul COVID-19 have symptoms of dysautonomia, though its frequency is unidentified. “Many patients do get much better, significantly better,” states Dr. Pam Taub, a cardiologist who treats Minhas at UC San Diego. In many cases, POTS is a persistent condition, states Dr. Mitch Miglis, a free disorder specialist at Stanford University, and patients require continuous care.

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Minhas, with her 8-month-old puppy Murphy, says she felt relief after getting detected with POTS, a blood flow disorder, and her health is improving slowly with treatment.

Tara Pixley for NPR

POTS has overlapping functions with chronic fatigue syndrome, including fatigue and brain fog, and professionals who treat it say POTS has had some of the same obstacles as CFS in acquiring recognition. “Even though 90% of people with POTS are females, males really get diagnosed with POTS a typical 2 years faster than females,” says Lauren Stiles, who was diagnosed with POTS in her early 30s and is the co-founder and president of Dysautonomia International, a not-for-profit client advocacy and research study group. If a patients heart rate leaps considerably when the table goes up and the symptoms are recreated with that motion, thats a strong sign of POTS, Chung states. Chung says he recommends ivabradine to some patients, however its not best for everybody, since it may worsen fatigue, lightheadedness or other common POTS symptoms. Provided that POTS is a syndrome with a variety of symptoms, Stanfords Miglis says he picks medications that are customized to each patient.

Its been known among POTS patients that consuming high-carb meals can make you feel worse, states Stiles of Dysautonomia International. She says this is an example of how individuals in the POTS community “encourage each other” and share details. Supporters in the POTS neighborhood such as Stiles say that given the considerable number of cases related to COVID-19, its vital that some of these research dollars be committed to comprehending free disorders.

Chung states he recommends ivabradine to some patients, but its not ideal for everybody, given that it may intensify fatigue, lightheadedness or other typical POTS symptoms. Offered that POTS is a syndrome with a range of symptoms, Stanfords Miglis states he selects medications that are customized to each client. “Some patients with brain fog advantage from stimulant medication, for instance,” he states.

“I am up to drinking a gallon of water a day,” says Michaelene Carlton, 47, who was just recently detected with POTS by Chung. Now, shes now on long-lasting disability and has actually stopped working as a middle school paraeducator, a task she states she liked. “Its sluggish going,” Carlton says.