Howdy howdy! How’s everyone doing on this Thursday afternoon?!
Now that it’s winter in good old England, I can reflect on one of my most persistent symptoms without melting into a puddle: heat intolerance. This is actually something I’ve likely struggled with since childhood. I would HATE getting into a hot car. I’d throw a tantrum and get myself worked up into such a state. During hot weather at school, I couldn’t focus on anything other than being sweltering. I’d zone out, feel miserable and would often end up with a migraine. I don’t know if how I felt was an appropriate bodily reaction to the hot weather though. But since I’ve had POTS? My body does not react how it should.
Temperature regulation is essentially what it boils down to (horrendous pun intended)…It is not uncommon for POTS patients to have some temperature regulation issues; resulting in either a lower or higher body temperature than average or a significant inability to tolerate heat or cold.
When I get hot, I get REALLY hot. And it can take me ages to cool down. I’ve been known to overheat when it’s not even hot outside. Not only that, I experience a wide variety of heat-related symptoms
- Excessive sweating
- Headaches and migraines
- Severe irritability
- Heart palpitations
- Breathlessness and air hunger
- Increased fatigue
- Inability to focus
The effect it has on me can linger for days afterwards. Once the actual ‘event’ is over, I’ll still struggle with many of these symptoms. Over the summer, we had a heatwave that lasted for weeks. It was awful. If I had to move, it was a monumental effort. I’d get breathless just sitting on the sofa even though I hadn’t been active in anyway. All I could think about was being hot. I know some of you are probably thinking ‘everyone gets hot!’ or ‘heatwaves are like that for loads of people!’, which are both fair points. But let me tell you a little story.
On holiday in Dorset a couple of years ago, we went to play crazy golf. I was wearing a t-shirt, shorts + a pair of leggings underneath. It wasn’t a hot day, but it wasn’t cool either, hence my in-between choice of clothing. I was hot before we even started playing. I was a sweaty mess, on the verge of having a POTS attack in the middle of a mini golf course. In the end, I had to partly strip off in public. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I hid behind my mum and stepdad, removed my shorts and leggings, so all I had on my bottom half was my underwear. I then put my shorts back on and carried on as if none of it happened. Most people could probably have cooled down with some water and simply waiting for the temperature regulation in your body to kick in. But mine doesn’t work like that. I could have gone on overheating for at least an hour.
I’M NOT JUST HOT; I HAVE HEAT INTOLERANCE.
And so ends today’s lesson.