Each POTS patient has a unique combination of physiologic deviations – correctable body changes. It may be low blood volume, low salt intake, poor muscular strength and exercise intolerance, cardiac atrophy (loss of muscle due to disuse), inadequate sleep, stress or medications that aggravate your POTS symptoms. For most POTS patients it is a combination of most of these changes .Therefore, treatment needs to be tailored to correct those factors most important for you. For most POTS patients, treatment (behavioral changes) will consist of small initial steps, followed gradually by larger steps.
Increasing Salt and Fluids
Increasing salt and fluid intake may be the easiest task for most POTS patients. Aim for a total fluid intake of 2-3 quarts (equivalent to 8-12 8-ounce glasses) of fluids per day. Seek out salty foods and liquids. Luckily for adolescents, most snacks, fast foods and restaurant foods are high in sodium. Canned soups, vegetables and tomato products, sauces, cheeses, bakery foods, deli meats and pizza are all heavily salted foods. POWER over POTS provides Recovery Records to make it easier to track increased salt and fluid intake.
Increasing Muscular Strength & Exercise
Adding exercise rehabilitation of your lower extremity muscles is a little more challenging. Whether dealing with excessive fatigue or relative inactivity, both require motivating one’s self to initiate a regular exercise program. Whereas POTS patients have most difficulty with symptoms while standing, it’s preferable to start with exercises you can perform without standing. Try to exercise your thigh and leg muscles while lying down. Dance with your feet on the ground while sitting in a chair. Avoid prolonged crossing of your legs when sitting as it impedes lower leg upward venous flow.
Reclining cycling and rowing machines and swimming are the best tolerated and preferred starting exercises as they avoid upright exercising. Much later, when stronger, consider endurance exercises such as stationary bicycling, bicycling, walking, hiking and dancing. Start out small, 2 to 5 minutes at first, and then gradually increase the number of minutes of exercise. Work towards 30+ minutes 5-6 days per week. Adding endurance training may be the most challenging task needed, but it is the most important therapeutic step required if one is to take back one’s life. POWER over POTS provides Recovery Records to make it easier to track increased muscular strengthening.
POWER over POTS provides detailed guidance for designing a personalized program to “Take Back Your Life.”