Debilitating heart condition POTS linked to COVID-19 and, in rare cases, vaccines – WNDU

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – With the Tripledemic surging around the country, doctors want to warn us about a new debilitating disease linked to COVID infections and, in rare cases, vaccines.
POTS, or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, is a condition that causes your heart to beat faster than normal when you transition from sitting or lying down to standing up.
“Most people realize they will be for a week or two with COVID, but if you’re a month or six weeks down the road and still not really recovering, I think that’s the time to contact your doctor,” Dr. James Harris, (MD), an allergist at the South Bend Clinic, said.
When a healthy adult stands up from a resting position, the body can quickly and efficiently move the blood that has settled in the extremities back to the brain.
People who have certain autoimmune conditions, like lupus and celiac disease, are also more likely to develop POTS, and it is much more common in women than in men.
“COVID has some consequences,” Dr. Harris added. “Not just the illness itself but what happens afterward, so if you have had COVID, or you know someone that has had it, recognize that there can be a prolonged illness that goes along with it. This post-COVID syndrome can be a significant problem, and I’ve seen people have to quit work and drop out of school even weeks or months down the road because of the effects.”
While there are varying levels of intensity, if someone with POTS, the body struggles to balance the blood pressure, and fainting can happen in some severe cases.
“Some patients that have it have it relatively mildly where it really does affect their daily life very much,” Dr. Harris said. “Others are so debilitated that they are wheelchair-bound because they are frankly unstable. It is treatable. Antihistamines will help. Other medications help to stabilize blood pressure, increase fluid in their body to retain water, and increase salt in the diet can be helpful, so diet and medications are really the answer for that.”
POTS can also be a very uncommon side effect of the COVID-19 vaccines, but doctors are adamant that the overall benefits far outweigh the potential risks.
“We have seen some of those symptoms occur after vaccinations. It’s quite rare, but it has occurred. On the other hand, maybe as many as 20-30% of people who get COVID-19 will have this post-COVID syndrome, which includes POTS, fatigue, and other symptoms. Especially seniors, so when you get past the age of 60, the risk of this goes way up. So, all things considered, it’s much better to get the vaccine and help prevent this problem than to deal with it after it has occurred.”
POTS is treatable, and if you notice that you are experiencing lasting effects from COVID, seek medical attention.
Antihistamines and increasing salt in one’s diet have been shown to help prevent and alleviate symptoms of POTS.
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