POTS, a blood-flow disorder, is often mistaken for depression

| Apr 2, 2020 | Medical Malpractice |

Among the more commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions that New York residents may be faced with is postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. POTS is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system, which means it affects involuntary movements like heart rate, blood pressure and digestion. When POTS patients stand up after lying down, they may experience circulatory problems; this is one of the hallmarks of the condition.

The symptoms of POTS include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, heart palpitations, constipation and diarrhea. As many of these symptoms can be tied to depression, it’s not surprising that, according to one study from the U.K., nearly half of POTS patients are initially misdiagnosed as having a psychiatric disorder. Another study says that POTS patients see around seven doctors over a period of four years before being correctly diagnosed.

Besides the symptoms being similar to those of depression, another reason for the frequent misdiagnoses may lie in the fact that 80% of POTS patients are women, especially women under 35. Women are, first of all, more prone to depression than men, and young patients tend to be physically healthy before experiencing the symptoms.

While medications like fludrocortisone may be prescribed to POTS patients, there is no single medical treatment for it. Patients may also consider lifestyle changes that help increase blood pressure and blood volume.

Diagnostic errors can cause patients to undergo unnecessary treatments, some of which can be aggressive and lead to harm. Meanwhile, their true condition goes unchecked and results in additional harm. Such an error can form the basis for a medical malpractice claim, though there will no doubt be much opposition to it from the other side. Victims may want a lawyer to help them build up the case and negotiate a settlement.