Covid-19 Story Tip: Brain Fog, Fatigue, Dizziness ... Post-COVID POTS Is Real
For almost one year, COVID-19 has impacted the world and taken the lives of many people. While some survivors have fully recovered from this illness, others are still experiencing lingering effects, such as chronic fatigue, brain fog, dizziness and increased heart rate. These survivors have been called “long-haulers,” and experts say some of the symptoms they are experiencing are thought to be caused by postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), a blood circulation disorder.
Some patients may, at first, believe their symptoms are “all in their head,” but Tae Chung, M.D., assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins POTS Program, says “POTS is very real.”
While experts are still researching the long-term side effects of COVID-19, it is clear to experts that some survivors are experiencing the classic signs of POTS as a result of their COVID-19 diagnosis.
Chung says POTS is related to autonomic nerve dysfunction. He explains that the autonomic nervous system is responsible for involuntary control of many of our body functions, such as sweating, pupil movement, bowel movement and blood flow. Many POTS symptoms are thought to be related to inadequate control of blood flow, causing brain fog and dizziness. Chung suspects that COVID-19 may be associated with chronic inflammation in the autonomic nervous system, causing POTS.
Before POTS can be diagnosed, patients usually have symptoms for six months. Since the pandemic began last March, physicians are just now beginning to see patients with post-COVID POTS.
Michaelene Carlton — who sees Chung in the POTS Program — was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March. Carlton says she started experiencing an increased heart rate when she stood, in addition to dizziness and fatigue, after she had recovered from COVID-19. She was later diagnosed with POTS, a disorder she wasn’t aware existed, prior to her diagnosis.Chung is available for media interviews on post-COVID POTS. Michaelene Carlton is also available for media interviews to discuss her experience with the illness.