For people suffering from Orthostatic Intolerance, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia, Mast Cell Activtation or EDS. Follow me as I document my struggle towards better health.

Advice for Friends of Someone with POTS or OI

Orthostatic Intolerance and Postural Orthostatic Intolerance are conditions whose symptoms can be unpredictable and can vary from mild to debilitating.  Migraines, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, cognitive problems and fatigue are just some of the symptoms experienced by sufferers.  If you have a friend living with POTS and/or OI then here is some advice on how you can be supportive:
  1. If your friend is having difficulty with daily activities and you want to help, offer to do specific tasks such as cooking dinner Saturday, doing the dishes or vacuuming the living room.  
  2. Your friend may be on a special diet regime in which case check to make sure any treat or food you may bring over is diet-friendly.
  3. Some days are good and some days can be very difficult prompting the cancellation of activities which is discouraging for everyone.  Please be understanding, stay hopeful and keep making plans for the future.  
  4. Listen, listen and listen some more.
  5. Living with a chronic illness can be isolating.  Keeping in touch with cheerful or personal notes and email messages can make your friend feel like they are still part of the world.
  6. If you would like to purchase a gift think about an gift card or membership.  Audible books listened to on an MP3 or iPod can be much easier to enjoy for your friend who may be experiencing visual problems and fatigue which makes reading printed books difficult.
  7. One of the most challenging aspects of POTS and OI can be the reception a patient receives from their medical practitioners who may know nothing about the conditions (in spite of the body of research and thousands of patients).  A lack of support from their practitioner can be devastating.  You can help by validating your friend's feelings and challenges.
  8. A person with POTS and/or OI may not look sick when they feel sick. 
  9. Sometimes your friend may need to sit down to prevent a fainting episode.  This is normal for their condition.  It can also be embarrassing for your friend if a fainting episode happens in a public place.  If you want to help get your friend a glass of water (drinking 500ml water can temporarily raise blood pressure) and reassure others who may be witness to the episode and are concerned.  If your friend actually hits the deck in a fainting episode then allow 5 minutes in a sitting position while drinking the water for recovery. 
  10. And finally, your friend's memory may be impaired so if you want them to remember a date or a task write it down, send an email or put a sticky on their fridge.
I am sure to have left our some other important tips for friends but I hope this will give you some idea as to how to help cope with these chronic conditions.  

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