Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Identify A Cause Of Fainting Syndrome That Affects Young Women

Date:
February 19, 2001
Source:
American Society For Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology
Summary:
People who complain of repeated dizzy spells, elevated heartbeat, or fainting after standing up from a lying position will now have their concerns better addressed by doctors.

New York, New York and Haifa, Israel, February 12, 2001 -- People who complain of repeated dizzy spells, elevated heartbeat, or fainting after standing up from a lying position will now have their concerns better addressed by doctors.

Neuropathic Postural Tachycardial Syndrome (NPTS) affects approximately 500,000 people in the U.S., primarily women between 20 and 45. Dr. Giris Jacob of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, and Dr. David Robertson of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, found that NPTS can be caused, in part, by genetic mutations or by disease that can occur after surgery, pregnancy, or an inflammatory illness. Drs. Jacob and Robertson published their findings in The New England Journal of Medicine (October 5, 2000) and Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association (April 6, 1999; 99: 1706-1712).

Dr. Julian Stewart, professor of physiology at New York Medical College, says the researchers have made significant advances in their field.

"Prior to this study, many people felt this wasn't an illness of any sort, just a group of neurotic people feeling dizzy. Finding a consistent abnormality in blood flow control is very important to treating people with NPTS. Drs. Jacob and Robertson moved a great deal forward by finding an explanation first," Dr. Stewart said.

Scientists have been trying to pin down the causes of NPTS for decades. It also has been called hyperadrenergic orthostatic tachycardia, or postural orthostatic tachycardia (POTS). Because of the wide-ranging symptoms and a spectrum of severity, Dr. Jacob explains, many doctors mistake NPTS for low blood sugar, anxiety, anemia, or even chronic fatigue syndrome and treat patients accordingly.

Characteristics of NPTS include:

* a remarkable increase in heart rate after standing from a prone position

* low or normal blood pressure

* dizziness and blurred vision

* fainting spells

* chest pains and shortness of breath

* chronic fatigue, anxiety and irritability.

While Dr. Jacob and his colleagues have yet to find a definitive cause for NPTS, they suspect it's caused by blood accumulating in the legs when a person stands. Blood vessel contraction, which depends on the vascular nerves, is supposed to keep blood pressure at the same level it was when the person was lying down. But in NPTS patients, vascular nerves are damaged and contraction is ineffective, causing blood to pool in the legs and reducing the amount of blood to the heart. Dr. Jacob's work indicates that impaired vascular nerves predominate in the lower extremities and, to a lesser extent, in the upper extremities. The subsequent lack of blood returning to the heart produces an effect similar to dehydration or hemorrhaging, in which the heart rate initially increases to compensate for low blood pressure. If reduced blood return persists, blood pressure can fall and the patient can faint.

Drs. Jacob and Robertson also found that inadequate amounts of norepinephrine, the chemical responsible for blood vessel contraction, are released in the arms and legs of NPTS patients, even while resting. The next step is to study why this occurs.

To mitigate the effects of NPTS, Drs. Jacob and Robertson recommend foods and activities that increase blood volume in the vessels. These include:

* consuming foods high in salt and water

* wearing socks or stockings that apply pressure to the legs

* walking and swimming at a gradually increasing rate to build limb muscles, which provide structural support for veins

If the condition is severe enough to require medication, doctors may prescribe beta-blockers, drugs commonly used to treat hypertension or arrhythmia that decrease the force and rate of heart contractions, Dr. Jacob says. Medications such as fludrocortisone or midodrine also may help, but specific therapies await a definitive cause of the disorder.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society For Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society For Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology. "Scientists Identify A Cause Of Fainting Syndrome That Affects Young Women." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010215074346.htm>.
American Society For Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology. (2001, February 19). Scientists Identify A Cause Of Fainting Syndrome That Affects Young Women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010215074346.htm
American Society For Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology. "Scientists Identify A Cause Of Fainting Syndrome That Affects Young Women." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010215074346.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects revised CDC protocols on Ebola to focus on training, observation and ensuring health care workers are more protected. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins