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

Building Blood Volume and Exercise

Having chronic low blood volume is a condition afflicting many sufferers of CFS, ME, POTS and orthostatic intolerance.  Building and maintaining blood volume is challenging and requires constant attention.  Even one day without adequate fluids can exacerbate symptoms to the point of incapacitation.

For those of us who are newly diagnosed or who have been at the mercy of physicians who don't understand OI, what is a proven treatment for building and maintaining adequate blood volume?


There is no escaping it.  Some of us have avoided exercise because it is painful, uncomfortable, too exhausting, and/or unpleasant. BUT even though exercise is HARD to do and it can HURT and make us feel WORSE in the short term, evidence is there that says we can improve our symptoms by conditioning our bodies. As someone told me when I was whining about how much my chest hurt during my session with the rowing machine "it might hurt but you're not going to die."  All for a good cause.

On this blog I have attempted to offer evidence for the treatments I have written about in the form of studies and research from reputable publications.  Here are links to two such studies on exercise and blood volume:

Once Dr. Levine's study is published, there will be more helpful information on exercise programs but until then, if you want to start exercising don't forget to read the "Exercise" page on this blog for some tips on how to start with your own orthostatic conditioning program.

Soldier on!

Soldiers, Orthostatic Intolerance and Exercise

Next week my eldest son goes to Afghanistan. He is in the Canadian Infantry and for this mission he will be with the 1st Royal Canadian Regiment.  (Yes I am worried and yes I am VERY proud of him - he is very brave)

We can only imagine the challenging conditions he and his fellow soldiers will face overseas.   He will be on patrol away from the comforts of Khandahar and aside from the obvious dangers they face from the conflict  it will be hot, dry, and dusty.  Dreadful situation for anyone with orthostatic intolerance!

Which brings to mind a study I recently read about which examined the effects of endurance training in the treatment or prevention of orthostatic intolerance.  Performed by researchers in Vienna and included participation by folks from Vanderbilt, this study examined 2,768 soldiers for orthostatic intolerance using a questionnaire and the Tilt Table Test.  36 soldiers were found to have orthostatic intolerance.  31 decided to enter a "randomized, controlled trial".  Some soldiers were required to do 3 months of jogging and others were in the control group (sitting around playing video games and eating Viennese pastries?).  At the end of the study period, in the control group, 10 out of 11 participants showed no signs of improvement in their symptoms whereas in the jogging group, all but 6 of the 16 soldiers still had orthostatic intolerance.

The conclusion: endurance exercise can significantly improve the symptoms of orthostatic intolerance in a majority of patients (postural orthostatic tachycardia is an expression of orthostatic intolerance).

The abstract of the study can be found here:

BTW- Please say a prayer for all our brave soldiers who have put their lives at risk at the behest of our nation.