Did COVID19 Cause My POTS?
A passion for running, Josh* was a fairly healthy and normal college student who averaged 60-70 miles a week for his track and cross country team. Then in June of 2020, Josh developed a cough, sore throat, and fatigue and was diagnosed with COVID19 after exposure at a relatives house just days before. Josh had all the typical symptoms; loss of smell, lightheadedness, fatigue, and difficulty breathing.
A month later Josh was negative for COVID19, but his symptoms hadn’t fully disappeared. His fatigue was persistent and started to affect his daily life. He woke up tired. He was experiencing PEM (post exertional malaise) which causes a worsening of symptoms after a minimal amount of activity. Forget running 70 miles a week. Even playing a game of corn hole was taking more energy than he had. Josh sought treatment. After a simple ten minute standing test, it was discovered that Josh had POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). Six months after his diagnosis of COVID19, Josh is now only able to tolerate 2-3 short 15 minutes walks a day.
Studies Suggest POTS Can Be Triggered by Illness
A study states that there has been rumblings in the medical community wondering if the disruption of the body’s autonomic nervous system from viral infections and vaccines has a potential of triggering POTS in seemingly otherwise healthy patients. Another study suggests that the vaccination for HPV was the cause of POTS in some patients continuing the connection between the two.
The cause is currently unknown, but the medical community seems to agree that stress to your immune system from viral infections, vaccination, trauma, pregnancy, surgery, or psychological stressors could be a trigger for POTS. We don’t really know why. Not yet, but some researchers believe it could be an autoimmune response.
This is why research in regards to dysautonomia is so important. Maybe if we can find the root cause we can prevent it from happening. We can all dream, right?
Newly Diagnosed With POTS After a COVID19 Diagnosis?
You’re not alone. You’re also not crazy; it’s possible that your exposure to COVID19 has caused your POTS. The connection between the two is still being researched. The National Health Institute received $1.5 billion to study post COVID19 conditions from congress. "There is hope that this miserable experience with covid will be valuable," said Dr. David Goldstein, head of NIH's Autonomic Medicine Section.
Maybe you haven’t officially been diagnosed, but you suspect that you have POTS. Unfortunately many doctors know little about POTS. We encourage you to empower yourself with knowledge of the condition and be sure to advocate, then advocate more.
One of the easiest and most commonly recommended ways to manage POTS is ensuring that you increase your sodium and fluid intake daily. Always refer to your doctor beforehand, but know that NormaLyte can help manage those symptoms when you’re ready. In fact, NormaLyte’s pure flavor was created in partnership with Dysautonomia International specifically for people with POTS and a portion of all sales goes to the nonprofit.
Do you think you developed POTS or another form of dysautonomia after being diagnosed or vaccinated against COVID? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.
*Name changed for privacy.