How gravity can leave you breathless

In 2012 I suffered from bilateral pulmonary emboli (blood clots on your lungs). A course of blood thinners and some lifestyle management tips and I was back on my feet six months later. Yet being on my feet was causing chest pain and shortness of breath. These symptoms are very similar to those which I experienced with the blood clots, and knowing that I’m likely to clot again, there have been many over-cautious trips to the hospital when things have got unbearable.

Fast forward to the present day – I’ve continued life as normal, knowing that any kind of exertion (walking, climbing stairs, heavy lifting, and sometimes just standing up) could cause pain and breathlessness. I’ve had blood tests, heart monitors, ECGs and scans galore, ruling out a wide array of conditions which can cause the same symptoms. Yet now, after an extremely long wait, a cardiologist sent me for a tilt table test. Strapped to a table and tipped into an upright position, my heart rate jumped, and a jump of over 30 BPM is the marker of POTS.

Continue reading for more about postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome:

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