Get Dizzy When You Stand Up? You May Have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Health & Medical Blog

Getting dizzy every time you stand up can definitely be a cause for concern. When you also have other symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, and/or heart palpitations, you may have what is called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Here's what you need to know about POTS, what can cause it, how to get diagnosed, and the available treatments.


Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome literally means changing your posture to an upright position causes an abnormally fast heart rate. When someone with this condition stands up, their autonomic nervous system does not function properly. Normally, upon standing, the blood vessels constrict and keep the blood flowing through the body. For someone with POTS, the blood vessels do not do this, so their blood pools in the lower extremities.

This causes the heart to react by speeding up in an attempt to increase the blood flow. Due to the blood not reaching the brain and vital organs, symptoms include dizziness, fainting, headaches, fatigue, brain fog, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, nausea, abdominal pain, and bladder dysfunction.

Underlying Causes

POTS is usually caused by other medical conditions. A study done by the Mayo Clinic suggests neuropathic (problem with peripheral nerves) and autoimmune disorders account for a substantial number of POTS cases. Other causes can be due to adrenal disorders, anemia, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Lyme disease, Chiari malformation, multiple sclerosis, mitochondrial diseases, spinal disorders, vitamin deficiency, and tumors. For people with these types of underlying medical conditions, treating POTS can improve symptoms of the underlying causes.


There is a set of specific diagnostic criteria when it comes to diagnosing POTS, which includes a heart rate increase of 30 beats per minute or more within the first 10 minutes after standing. A diagnosis can also be given if the patient's heart rate increases to over 120 beats per minute after standing. These measurements can be taken bedside or by using a tilt table test. Other tests include the quantitative sudomotor axon reflex test and the thermoregulatory sweat test, both of which are done by cardiologists.


Treating POTS involves increasing fluid intake and salt consumption, under the direction and advice of a cardiologist. Compression stockings should be worn to aid in the constriction of blood vessels. The head of the bed should be raised to conserve the blood volume changes that occur when standing. Medication, such as beta blockers and clonidine, may also be prescribed to improve symptoms of POTS.

Contact a doctor like one of the professionals at if you suspect you might have POTS.


18 July 2017