Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Riley Fisher, Fall 2014 J1 Student

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome



Most people who have health disorders prefer to keep it more of a secret rather than put it out to the public. Freshman Rhyan Kale said she prefers to keep to herself when it comes to her health issues. Kale was diagnosed with POTS, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, along with Proteinuria at the age of 12.

“I was really scared when I found out I had POTS,” Kale said. “I had no idea what POTS was when I was diagnosed.”

Kale said she later found out about POTS and what it meant for her.


According to American Heart Association, POTS is one of the many disorders that has orthostatic intolerance, which occurs when someone stands up and perceives numerous amounts of symptoms.

POTS is very rare in people under the age of 14, according to Dysautonomia International, making Kale’s diagnoses very strange at the age of 12. Kale said her disease was developed, and she was not born with it. Shana Kale, mother of Rhyan Kale, said that their family has had no history of POTS.

“[I developed POTS] because I am too tall and too skinny,” Rhyan said. “It makes my kidney hang off of something differently than normal people.”

Shana said she is underweight so she gets dehydrated easily.

“She has a POTS episode when she doesn’t stay hydrated,” Shana said.

Kale said that she doesn’t feel normal when standing up after sitting or laying down.

“I get really dizzy a lot,” Kale said. “When I stand up, my eyes get blurry.”

Kale said she has lots of symptoms that come from POTS.

“She doesn’t feel well when she doesn’t drink enough water or [eat] enough healthy foods.” Shana said.

“[I can have or feel] dizzy, clammy, anxious, lightheadedness, weak, fainting, difficulty falling asleep, headaches, chills, cold hands, getting full quickly and restless leg syndrome.”

Rhyan said she had one serious episode caused by POTS prior to her diagnosis.

“One time when I was about 11, it was really hot outside,” Kale said. “I walked over to my friend’s house, and when I got there, I felt really dizzy, and I passed out.”

Shana said she can be concerned for her daughter.

“I get frustrated when she doesn’t act responsibly about drinking enough water,” Shana said. “When she has an episode, she can pass out and hurt herself from falling down, so she has to be careful.”


Rhyan said POTS affects her life, but not enough to where people notice.

“I have to stand up slower than most people and take more time to do things, but I am not much different than a normal person,” Rhyan said.

Shana said Rhyan is barely different from any other person.

“She can do anything she wants to do as long as she stays hydrated and eats properly,” Shana said. Rhyan said POTS is not a very difficult thing to have.

“POTS just makes it harder to be active,” Rhyan said.


Basic treatment includes increasing daily intake of fluids to two to three liters every day, increasing salt consumption, taking certain medications and consuming a healthy diet. Medication is used to help lessen symptoms from POTS, according to Dysautonomia International.

“I have to drink a lot of water, and I have to go to the doctor’s office every six months just to make sure everything is OK with my body,” Rhyan said. “I used to have to take tablets that had salt in them but not anymore.”

According to American Heart Association, salt and fluid is important in POTS patients because it increases circulatory volume and blood pressure, which helps lessen symptoms.

“When Rhyan was diagnosed with POTS, I was happy to hear and know what was wrong with her, and it wasn’t more serious than it is.”


Not many people know about Rhyan’s syndrome. Friends freshmen Peyton Anderson and Megan Folmsbee both said they had no clue Kale had POTS.

Folmsbee said she had heard of the disease but didn’t think anyone she knew had it.

“I won’t think about Rhyan differently, but I kind of feel upset for her and anyone else that has health problems,” Folmsbee said.

Peyton said she had never heard of the disease before.

“I don’t think Rhyan is very different,” Anderson said. “I won’t try to treat her differently now that I know she has POTS.”

Rhyan said she is rarely treated differently because of POTS.

“People who know about my disease treat me the same as they do with everyone else,” Rhyan said. Rhyan said a stranger probably couldn’t tell her apart from any normal person.

“I don’t treat Rhyan very differently,” Shana Kale said. “We just have to make sure she gets plenty of water and protein.”


Although Kale said she wishes she didn’t have any health issues, she knows POTS is something that can easily be grown out of.

“I know I will grow out of it eventually,” Rhyan said.

According to Dysautonomia International, around 50 percent of POTS patients will grow out of POTS within two to five years.

Shana is positive Rhyan will recover completely.

“When she gets older and gains weight, she will outgrow it,” Shana said.

Rhyan said she doesn’t let POTS get in the way of her life.

“I don’t let POTS affect my attitude,” Rhyan said. “Never let anything hold you back.”