Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Poorly understood postural syndrome blights lives of young, well educated women

Date:
June 16, 2014
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Postural tachycardia syndrome, or PoTS for short, is a debilitating syndrome that predominantly affects young well educated women, and blights their lives because it is so poorly understood and inconsistently treated, reveals a small study. PoTS is a by-product of orthostatic intolerance -- a disorder of the autonomic nervous system in which the circulatory and nervous system responses needed to compensate for the stress put on the body on standing upright, don't work properly.

Postural tachycardia syndrome, or PoTS for short, is a by-product of orthostatic intolerance -- a disorder of the autonomic nervous system in which the circulatory and nervous system responses needed to compensate for the stress put on the body on standing upright, don't work properly.

PoTS is associated with an excessively rapid heartbeat, or tachycardia. Symptoms include dizziness, fainting, nausea, poor concentration, excessive fatigue and trembling, and can be so severe as to make routine activities, such as eating and bathing, very difficult to do.

The impact of the syndrome has been likened to the level of disability associated with serious and debilitating long term conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure.

In the US, PoTS is thought to affect around 170 per 100,000 of the population, one in four of whom is disabled and unable to work.

But the symptoms, and their impact, are frequently not recognized in the UK, or attributed to anxiety, panic disorder, or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), say the researchers, who wanted to find out if PoTS affects particular groups, and how.

They therefore assessed 84 members of the national charity and support group, PoTS UK, and 52 patients diagnosed with the syndrome at the NHS falls and syncope clinic in Newcastle, north east England, between 2009 and 2012.

All participants completed a validated set of questionnaires specifically aimed at gauging levels of fatigue; sleepiness; orthostatic intolerance; anxiety and depression; ability to carry out routine tasks; and brain power.

The profile of the two groups was broadly similar, and indicated that people with PoTS are predominantly young -- average age of diagnosis 30-33 -- well educated to degree or postgraduate degree level, and female.

Poor health had prompted a significant number to change their jobs or give up working altogether, and both groups experienced high levels of fatigue, daytime sleepiness, orthostatic symptoms, anxiety and depression, memory and concentration problems, and considerable difficulty carrying out routine tasks.

Around one in five people had been diagnosed with CFS and a similar proportion had Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (inherited connective tissue disorders), suggesting that there may be an underlying overlapping cause, say the researchers.

Beta blocker drugs, which regulate heart rate, were the most common treatment for PoTS. But altogether, patients reported taking 21 different combinations of drugs. And a significant number were taking nothing at all or just salt.

"Patients with PoTS ... have significant and debilitating symptoms that impact significantly on their quality of life," write the researchers. "Despite this, there is no consistent treatment, high levels of disability, and associated comorbidity."

They go on to emphasise that their findings indicate that patients with PoTS experience a similar level of disability to people with CFS, but yet don't receive the same protection in law. "Our experience suggests that some patients never recover, and that a subset will worsen over time," they conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. McDonald, S. Koshi, L. Busner, L. Kavi, J. L. Newton. Postural tachycardia syndrome is associated with significant symptoms and functional impairment predominantly affecting young women: a UK perspective. BMJ Open, 2014; 4 (6): e004127 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004127

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Poorly understood postural syndrome blights lives of young, well educated women." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140616204238.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2014, June 16). Poorly understood postural syndrome blights lives of young, well educated women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140616204238.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Poorly understood postural syndrome blights lives of young, well educated women." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140616204238.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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