Perhaps you started to experience symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches and nausea when you were previously in such good physical health. You may have seen numerous doctors in Georgia until one finally identified the disorder you had as being postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. You’re not alone as anywhere from 1 to 3 million people in this country have POTS, and many of them are misdiagnosed.
What is POTS?
POTS is a blood-flow disorder, the cause of which is still unknown. It affects the autonomic nervous system in particular: the part of the nervous system responsible for functions independent of conscious effort like heart rate, blood pressure and digestion. While no medical treatment exists, POTS can be managed through certain medications and habits aimed at increasing blood volume and blood pressure.
POTS patients will experience circulatory problems when they stand up after a period of time lying down. This is known as orthostatic intolerance. The symptoms that arise, some of which we mentioned above, resemble that of anxiety or depression.
Why is it so often misdiagnosed?
It makes sense, then, that POTS patients are often told they have a psychiatric disorder. One study found that nearly half of POTS patients are initially led to believe this. Another study found that the average patient sees around seven doctors over a period lasting four years before getting a POTS diagnosis.
Besides the similarity in symptoms, POTS can be mistaken for depression because 80% of POTS patients are women. Depression is more prevalent in women than men. Second of all, POTS mostly affects women under 35. The lack of any physical health issues prior to symptoms will lead many doctors to think it is depression.
Seeing a lawyer after a “never event”
Many misdiagnoses fall under what are called “never events,” or medical mistakes that should never happen. It could be that your condition worsened as a result of the delay in diagnosis or that you underwent unnecessary treatments. In that case, you may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit filed with the assistance of an attorney.