POTS is a disorder often mistaken for depression

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2020 | Albuquerque Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Diagnostic errors are not uncommon in New Mexico, and it’s not always cancers that get misdiagnosed. A disorder of the autonomic nervous system known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome affects 1 to 3 million Americans, yet according to one study from the U.K., nearly half of those who have it were initially misdiagnosed with a psychiatric disorder.

Moreover, it takes a long time for most POTS patients to get the correct diagnosis. A separate study said they see an average of seven doctors over a roughly four-year period before receiving a POTS diagnosis. There are several explanations for this.

The main characteristic of POTS is orthostatic intolerance, where patients experience light-headedness and other symptoms stemming from poor blood circulation when they go from lying down to standing up. Its symptoms, which range from fatigue and shortness of breath to blurred vision and nausea, resemble those of depression and anxiety.

It affects mostly women under 35; women tend to be more prone to depression, and being young, they experience on physical health problems prior to POTS, which can naturally lead many doctors to diagnose them with a psychiatric disorder. No medical treatments for POTS exist. Doctors may prescribe fludrocortisone or recommend lifestyle changes aimed at increasing blood pressure and blood volume. Additionally, the cause of POTS is unknown.

A misdiagnosis sometimes stems from a doctor’s negligence . Patients who are seriously harmed as a result may file a malpractice claim. If successful, they could be reimbursed for the cost of past and future medical treatments, any income they lost and the pain and suffering they experienced that could have been averted. It may be good for victims to have a lawyer evaluate their case.


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