Tuesday, June 25, 2013

POTS and Hydration

A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with something called POTS. It stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Basically, I have a relatively low blood pressure and when I stand up my heart rate increases by more than 30 beats per minute trying to adjust to the new position of my body. When I stand up I have a tendency of getting dizzy, and have fainted a few times. This has been going on for about 5 years, but got noticeably worse in the past two years. 

It feels good to know what is causing my dizziness and the best thing is that I can treat it naturally. My cardiologist said that the best remedy for POTS is drinking more water and eating more salt. Before I was able to see the doctor I was keeping track of when I felt dizzy and didn't notice a difference in days when I drank more water compared to days when I knew I was dehydrated. Over the past few weeks I've realized that even when I thought I was adequately hydrated I was still dehydrated. 

My goal has been to drink 4 liters (17 cups, 136 ounces, or just over one gallon) a day. Some days I make it and other day I have slightly less. But the biggest thing I've learned was that I never realized how dehydrated I was and there are probably a lot of other people who don't realize it either. Since I've started drinking a lot more water I'm getting dizzy a lot less, I've had more energy, my skin hasn't been as dry, I'm not as hungry, and I've been eating less.

I'm still working on drinking more water every day but it is so nice to feel the difference in my body already! The best thing that has helped me drink more water is keeping track of each glass I drink. I have a little notepad in the kitchen where I write down the amount of water I drink. I also just got an app on my ipod called Waterlogged to help me keep track when I'm traveling!

If you want to learn more about POTS here are a few links I've found interesting and helpful:
New York Times
Dysautonomia Information Network
Dysautonomia International

Question of the Day: How much water do you drink in a day? 

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