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Symptoms of orthostatic intolerance

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Orthostatic intolerance is being unable to be upright (sitting up or standing) without experiencing symptoms that resolve when you lie down. Symptoms of othorstatic intolerance include the following (but not every patient has all of the symptoms and, importantly, not all experience dizzyness or lightheadedness):

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizzyness
  • Fainting
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Altered vision (blurred vision, “white-outs,” black-outs)
  • Weakness
  • Hyperpnea (increased depth of breathing) or sensation of difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Tremulousness
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Nausea
  • Neurocognitive deficits, such as attention problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Pallor

It can help to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do your symptoms tend to worsen when you sit upright (as opposed to lying or sitting up in bed), stand up or have to stand still for a period of time?
  • Are you a squirmer when you’re standing in line?
  • Do you feel that you think better or talk more clearly when you’re seated rather than standing up?
  • Do you find yourself sitting with your feet up or with your legs crossed?
  • Are you typically exhausted after meals?
  • Do warm showers bother you?
  • Does warm weather bother you?

If you recognise these symptoms, the next step is to explore getting a diagnosis.

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