What is Postural Tachycardia Syndrome?
Tachycardia is an abnormal increase in the heart rate. Postural tachycardia syndrome is an increase in the heart rate when there is a change in posture, i.e. when you stand up from a lying position. Postural tachycardia syndrome belongs to a group of disorders where the main symptom is intolerance to standing up from a lying or sitting position.
Postural tachycardia is caused by the reduced blood supply to the heart and head on standing, as a result of an impaired nervous system that controls involuntary actions. This condition is seen more in women in the age group of 15 to 50, usually before menstruation or after pregnancy. Major surgery, chemotherapy, trauma, infection or prolonged bed rest may also bring about postural tachycardia syndrome. The condition may occur in association with other conditions such as diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome and cancer.
Symptoms of Postural Tachycardia?
The symptoms of postural tachycardia syndrome may include faintness or lightheadedness, headache, nausea, poor concentration and a sense of anxiety. The heart rate exceeds 120 beats per minute within 10 minutes of standing.
Diagnosis of Postural Tachycardia Syndrome
To diagnose postural tachycardia syndrome, your doctor performs the tilt table test where you will lie on a table that is tilted to around 60 degrees, in order to trigger the symptoms. Your doctor may also order blood, cardiac and neurological tests.
Treatment for Postural Tachycardia Syndrome
Treatment for this condition mainly includes keeping the blood pressure from falling so that the heart receives adequate blood return. Your symptoms can usually be relieved by lying down and including extra salt and sufficient fluid intake. Your doctor may reduce or discontinue your blood pressure-lowering medications. You are advised to improve your fitness levels and wear tights or compression stockings, which can improve blood circulation. Avoid dehydration as decreased blood volume can reduce blood pressure. Symptoms may be controlled by drinking water rapidly following the onset of symptoms. Smaller meals are recommended as large meals may cause blood to move towards the intestine, away from the heart.