What is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)?

A woman of color massages her head as though she has a headache. She is wearing a gray athletic shirt and appears to be on a jog. Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

Many of us have felt lightheaded or shaky or had our hearts race while standing. But for some people, these are symptoms of a condition called POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), a syndrome that most often affects women between the ages of fifteen and fifty. Our Bodies Ourselves Today’s Heart Health Content Expert, Dr. Dara Lee Lewis, highlights the causes and symptoms of POTS. This is the first part of a two-part series of articles. The second part focuses on treatments.

“POTS is a syndrome, which means it’s a collection of symptoms and medical findings that often cluster together. The hallmark of POTS is bothersome symptoms that occur when standing upright. The medical term for these symptoms is orthostatic intolerance.”