We gave it a cute name. The October Slide. But, it's anything but cute.
October begins in a few short days. As the days are literally getting shorter it takes being prepared for the October Slide as the best way to ensure you're not feeling like crud.
WHAT IS THE OCTOBER SLIDE?
A friend of mine, Amanda said, "Oh that’s why I’ve been waking up feeling like I’ve been hit my a semi truck every day for the last three days ". Yep.
For some, the summer months have you climbing to the top of your slide, but as soon as cooler temperatures hit you feel like you're sliding down to the muck that is at the bottom of the ride. The October Slide is used to describe the worsening of symptoms that people with chronic illnesses like POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) often experience during the autumn months.
This can be due to a variety of factors, including cooler temperatures, reduced sunlight exposure, and increased stress.
Amanda went on to say, "Omg this explains so much my symptoms have been much worse recently and now I know why."
WHAT CAUSES THE OCTOBER SLIDE
There is no one cause of the October Slide, but it is thought to be related to the changes in the body that occur in response to the changing seasons. For example, when the weather cools down, blood vessels constrict to conserve heat. This can reduce blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body, which can lead to symptoms such as lightheadedness, dizziness, and fatigue.
Shorter days and less sunlight exposure can also play a role in the October Slide. Sunlight helps to regulate the body's circadian rhythm, which affects sleep, mood, and energy levels. People with chronic illnesses often have difficulty sleeping and regulating their body temperature, and reduced sunlight exposure can make these problems worse.
THE OCTOBER SLIDE AND POTS
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a chronic condition that affects the nervous system's ability to regulate blood pressure and heart rate when standing up. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including lightheadedness, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
When the fall starts, people with POTS are often finding their once managed symptoms to go crazy. There's things you can do to help yourself:
- Dress in layers: This will allow you to adjust your clothing as needed to stay warm and comfortable. Shedding layers is easy when you get hot.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids like NormaLyte which is clinically proven to help manage symptoms of POTS helps to keep your blood volume up and prevents dehydration.
- Avoid standing for long periods of time: If you need to stand for a long time, be sure to take breaks to sit or lie down.
- Elevate your feet when sitting or lying down: This will help to improve blood circulation.
- Get regular exercise: Exercise helps to improve cardiovascular health and reduce POTS symptoms.
- Manage stress: Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, yoga, or meditation.
AVOIDING THE OCTOBER SLIDE
Is there a way to avoid or minimize the October Slide? Surely it's not just something we have to put up with?!
Hydration, hydration, hydration. Preferably with an oral rehydration salt like NormaLyte. That's key for anyone who has POTS. Ensuring you're getting the sodium intake that your doctor has recommended will make a world of difference too. Also, following the tips above will help! And, remember you're not alone. So many with chronic illness experience this regression in symptoms during the seasonal change.
If you find that your POTS symptoms are worsening during the autumn months, talk to your doctor. They can help you develop a management plan to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
What little tricks to do you use in the lead up to October that has helped you or your kids with POTS stay stronger? Leave them in the comments below.