These are lifestyle tips I’ve found work for me and or other people I know with POTS. Obviously be sure to check with your doctor before starting anything new. This page will be added to as time passes, and please share any and all tips you have!
1. Water! People suffering with POTS should have on average 3L of water a day. If you get sick of it, there’s always Crystal Light flavor packages that give it a change
2. Depending on the type of POTS you have, your doctor will likely recommend you up your salt intake. It’s done to help raise your blood pressure. Adding salt even to you water is popular, and you get used to it with time. When cooking, try to keep it to healthy meals with salt, not chips, etc.
3. Use a Bed Wedge. There’s debate on this big time. I know people who use a wedge to help raise both legs and head, but also heard that you’re only to raise your head, or tilt the entire body on a slant head up to help stave off the blood from pooling in the legs. I also like it raised behind my upper body when my blood pressure is low (mine lowers when I lay down, which isn’t the norm) It allows me to rest, but still hold myself up a bit.
4. Use a shower stool. I am no longer able to stand in the shower, and the chair I have for in the tub is amazing.
5. Don’t bathe in excessively hot water. Whether it’s a shower or a bath. It exasperates the symptoms, for me making me really dizzy, light headed, weak and sick to my stomach.
6. Use a stool in the kitchen. This can be a real help when doing dishes (yet again not too hot of water!) and when preparing meals. Bar stools can actually cause the blood to pool in the legs as well and it does do this to me, but it happens over a longer period of time, instead of instantly with standing still. Best bet is to get a stool you can put your legs up with.
7. Lay on your right side. This helps with the chest pain that comes with POTS. It also helps with breathing. Try if you lay on your side to lay away from your heart by laying on the right side. It does surprisingly help!
8. Limit your intake of junky foods! Sugar is horrible for POTS as well as caffeine! A lot of us have gastrointestinal issues as well, and non of these bad foods help either! Try avoiding prepackaged foods, like frozen meals, and foods that are harder to digest like red meat, and surprisingly garlic. It directs the blood flow to the digestive system, and can make you really weak and lethargic.
9. Exercise! I know this seems impossible, but start out at what you can do, no matter how small and slowly build yourself up. It helps build orthostatic tolerance, aids in digestion, helps you sleep, deal with the stress of being chronically ill, keep the weight on and off! As well promotes proper blood flow. As well as the many other amazing benefits to staying in shape!
I was nervous about working out after being so sick and not knowing what may make me worst. Talk to your doctor about seeing a physical therapist who can help along with your doctor a routine that works specifically to your needs and symptoms.
10. Grieve! It is so great to stay positive but lets face it… we have a chronic illness and it sucks! Everyone needs those days where you sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Cry if you need, call a close friend and vent… write in a blog like me :p It helps to release the stress when you get upset, or you can make yourself feel even worst. Pent up stress is bad for everyone especially us!
11. Carry a list of your medicines even vitamins in your wallet or purse and an explanation for what each of them are for. It’s great for doctor visits bc we have brain fog and are likely to forget the names or dosages of them all. It also a life saver in an emergency case for paramedics to know what you’re taking and also what you’re allergic too. Medical Alert bracelets and necklaces are great for this. There are many new and cool looking ones out now too to choose from.
12. When dealing with nausea, try ginger candies! They’re great tasting, fast acting and fit easily in your purse. If you’re unable to find them in a store near you, try amazon.ca . Gin Gin candies seem to be the best.
13. I hate going through the hot flashes. They make it hard to sleep, concentrate… and they’re just plain annoying! For this, I use a wet, cold face cloth and drape it over my forehead or even stomach. If it’s low blood pressure causing you to be hot, run your wrists under the tap with cold water. Sounds weird, but it works!
14. For muscle and joint pain, try a nice relaxing bath. A lot of potsies cannot take baths, so what I did, was pick up a three pack of hot oatmeal bags. You can find them in any drug store or super store, for around $15-$20. You pop them in the microwave for two minutes and then place them wherever the pain is. Great for relaxing muscles and indigestion. Also a good thing for headaches. They normally come with three in a package all different sizes. I take the smallest one and leave it in the freezer to use with pain, the hot flashes and as a good relaxer. It as well can help raise blood pressure.
12. Another quick nice way to raise blood pressure is to chug cold water! It automatically starts to raise it for you!
13. Take a multivitamin. Obviously consult your doctor and pharmacist first, to make sure none of the vitamins won’t give you an adverse reaction with any other medicine you’re on. I suggest you also speak with a dietitian and see what is lacking in your diet. I take a multivitamin with all the B vitamins, B12, C, D, Calcium, Potassium, etc. As well as on the side extra Magnesium which 90% of all people (not just potsies) are low in. And make sure when taking Calcium you are not taking over 1000mg or else it will deplete your Magnesium levels even more. Ask your doctor to do blood work to see what else you may be lacking in and do your research of what vitamins your body needs most.
14. Where would we be without our pets? My man Zeus is my angel. I can feel and look right awful and he’s happy to snuggle and love me. I personally am unable to own a dog bc I cannot get them out for walks, so my cat is the perfect choice to me. I have someone loving to take care of, without it jeopardizing my illness. The Humane Society always has loving pets that need homes. If you want a dog, but are not well enough to train them, try adopting an adult dog!