Okay, so you’ve just been diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) or you strongly suspect you have it and now you’re wondering what is going to be in your arsenal of supplies to get yourself feeling better. We got you. Below are the items and tips we would recommend to any newbie dealing with autonomic issues.
If you don’t have some good electrolytes by your side already, go and order some right now! They can make SUCH a huge difference to your daily life. People with autonomic issues such as POTS might not “hold” on to the water they’re drinking, so even if they seem really well hydrated based on how much liquid they’re consuming, this doesn’t mean much if their body isn’t correctly using it. Electrolytes help to hold and utilize the water you drink, which is crucial for people with POTS. We have a couple different electrolytes we regularly turn to: Ultima is our kind of every day all day long electrolyte we consume most often; Salt Stick is another great option that has a higher sodium content, and is specifically formulated for those with POTS. Get electrolytes, consume regularly.
If you have low blood pressure (as many, like us, do with POTS) make sure you UP your salt intake! You usually hear the opposite thing with many medical conditions, but increasing your sodium will help you hold onto those electrolytes and help prevent your blood pressure from dropping too low. Anytime we’re feeling “Potsie” we always make sure to be well hydrated and have enough sodium in our system. We’ve become experts at picking out foods that hide salt easily – soups are great for this as are sauces!
Blood pooling is very common with POTS, that means your blood drops to the bottom half of your body and kind of pools there, not circulating well to the top half of your body, which is why fainting and lightheadedness are so prevalent with POTS. Compression pants, socks and leggings can help push the blood back up to the top half of your body and prevent that blood pooling we fight so hard against. We’ve posted about this a lot in the past because we find wearing compressions very beneficial to us. Check out our favorite brand Rejuva!
(Use our code TWOBEINGHEALTHY for 20% off your order)
3. Heart Rate and Blood Pressure Monitor
This is a tool we used constantly in the beginning of our diagnosis. It helped us track what our bodies were doing and how we were responding to different medications and activities. It’s also reassuring to see that your numbers are way off if you feel bad, because it’s sort of like “oh okay that’s why” and then you have to work on trying to improve them. To this day our doctor will still ask us what our numbers have been like from appointment to appointment. We also use an Apple Watch (series 5 – shown below) that tracks our heart rate. We love this especially when we’re doing an activity – it always gives us peace of mind.
4. Exercise Regimen for POTS
This is not something you have to buy, but starting an exercise regimen is extremely important. It puts you on the trajectory to getting and feeling better. First of all, don’t panic when we say “exercise”, we don’t mean the typical hard core training sessions you might be picturing. Start out extremely small, working on strengthening the legs (recumbent bike is ideal). What this does is help train the blood vessels in your leg to constrict, and in turn helps aid the pushing of blood back up to the top half of your body. Increase by a minute a day until you get to your desired amount and try to maintain that.
5. Medications for POTS
While there is currently no cure for POTS, there are many categories of medications that can help ease your day-to-day symptoms. It took each of us awhile to find the right balance of meds (along with the other tips we recommended above) that worked for us. Like most patients different things work for different people and even though we’re sisters with very similar diagnosis, our medications differ tremendously. If you are curious about what might work for you, be sure to talk to your doctor about the various medications (beta blockers, blood pressure meds, adrenaline meds etc.) that can help with POTS!
Also, don’t forget to rest! We almost weren’t going to number this one, but resting is SO important to a POTS patient. The whole “push through it” mentality won’t work with POTS so if your body has had enough, listen to it. A lot of times people with POTS have to do a 180 in their life, because they’re used to being an athlete or super active and then are suddenly not being able to get out of bed. This can feel socking and frustrating – we get it.
But trying to do more than what your body feels good with will (unfortunately) most likely cause you to crash as a result. Rest, and don’t feel bad for doing so.
We wanted to do a post just about the bare essential starter kit and keep it pretty simple. POTS symptoms go in many directions based on the individual who has it, so we’re not going to recommend a ton of other items, but each thing on this list has been hugely important in helping us improve and control our autonomic problems.