Today is a beautiful day just because it is, but let me contrast it with yesterday. By 8am I was at Beaumont Southshore Hospital Outpatient Imaging having a tilt table test. Tom my husband drove me there. I’m sure most people don’t know what this test is about. I will explain;
A tilt test is designed to determine what changes occur to ones heart rate and blood pressure with postural changes. I was poked and blood pressured to death all while being literally strapped to a table and tilted and then made to stay in one very uncomfortable position for the longest 30 minutes I’ve ever spent. I didn’t pass out or puke, but I did become very dizzy and weak and things got black and fuzzy for most of it. I believe I flunked the test.
The condition is called POTS, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Oddly, this is the first time in my life I have ever been tested for it.
I have been moving rather slowly since I was a kid trying not to upset whatever was making me feel faint every time I stood up. It was much worse trying to get out of bed in the morning. As an adult for me, it seems to come and go. Don’t jump out of bed or bend over to tie my shoes. In fact, just buy slip on shoes, and some days if you drop something on the floor, it can just stay there.
I have been operating in this modality for so long I don’t even think about much unless I begin to fall or black out. I am conditioned by habit to avoid situations that cause it. Some people, mostly young women, are completely disabled by this. I am thankful I’m not that bad and yet at the same time I am so limited by this.
What causes this? Veins and blood vessels get signals from our senses about our body position. Gravity causes our blood to want to pool in our extremities when we stand or go from laying down to sitting or standing. We need our blood to get to our heart, lungs, brains, and all organs. Our veins and blood vessels contract to force the blood upward from our legs to meet the needs of all our organs.
In people with POTS the signals are wrong. When the vascular contraction doesn’t happen for various reasons, and the heart needs blood to pump throughout the body, it begins to work very had to compensate and pump blood upwards fighting gravity. You end up feeling faint because the blood flow that should be making it to your brain is still around your ankles.
This whole process is extremely uncomfortable and the more you poke at it by trying to move around, the more it seems to hang on.Yesterday was a wash. Normally I am sleeping at 8am. Not in a clinic poking my illness with a stick. I was miserable until I woke up the next morning. One episode sets the tone for the whole day.
POTS is an invisible illness meaning other people cannot see a disease process. People who have this tend to be ignored or ridiculed. This is probably why it took 57 years to get tested. My cardiologist ordered the test. If you or someone you know has these symptoms, don’t judge, go see a cardiologist. POTS accompanies other illnesses which I won’t get into here except to say it wears on your heart. It may be why I also have congestive heart failure at this point.
I also had a cardiogram after the tilt test. It’s an ultrasound to see my heart as it functions. Your prayers and good thoughts are appreciated. I am optimistic that I may get some help for this after all.
It is so limiting in subtle ways and not so subtle ways. It explains why I have such a hard time traveling by car.(ten more paragraphs I’ll spare you from) It also explains why I write so much. I can’t do much else LOL Peace out…