-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, June 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A condition that
causes a racing heartbeat when people stand up primarily affects
young, well-educated women and has a serious impact on their lives
because it is poorly understood and treated, according to a new
The disorder -- postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) -- occurs
because of improper functioning of the circulatory and nervous
system responses to the stress placed on the body when a person
Along with a rapid heartbeat, this syndrome causes dizziness,
fainting, nausea, fatigue, trembling and poor concentration. Severe
symptoms can make it difficult to do routine activities such as
eating and bathing.
Researchers assessed dozens of patients with the syndrome in the
United Kingdom and found that they were predominantly women, young
(average age of 30 to 33 at diagnosis), and well educated. The
patients had difficulty doing normal daily tasks and many had to
change jobs or stop working.
The most common treatment for the syndrome was beta-blocker
drugs, which regulate heart rate. However, patients reported taking
21 different combinations of drugs, and many took nothing at all or
just salt, according to the study published June 16 in the online
Patients with this syndrome "have significant and debilitating
symptoms that impact significantly on their quality of life," wrote
Julia Newton, a professor at the Institute for Aging and Health at
Newcastle University in England, and colleagues. "Despite this,
there is no consistent treatment, high levels of disability, and
associated [health problems]," they noted.
The findings suggest that levels of disability among people with
postural tachycardia syndrome are similar to those in people with
chronic fatigue syndrome, but PoTS patients don't have the same
legal protections, the study authors pointed out.
"Our experience suggests that some patients never recover, and that a subset will worsen over time," the researchers concluded.
In the United States, about 170 in 100,000 people have postural
tachycardia syndrome, and one in four of those with the disorder is
disabled and can't work, according to background information in a
journal news release.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
has more about
postural tachycardia syndrome.
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