Simple, effective way to increase blood pressure

My cardiologist recommended salt tablets to treat my POTS and orthostatic hypotension. I avoided using them for a long time because the kind I had tried made me very nauseated. But, I have found a tablet that is buffered and as long as I take it with food and water I have no problem. They are called Thermotabs and they are used to treat fatigue related loss of salt through sweating in hot environments. It is available over the counter at Walgreens. It really helps me to add this to my regimen, and I thought I would share this so that it may help other people who have low blood pressure, POTS, or orthostatic intolerance. It really does raise your blood pressure :)

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I have thought about getting thermotabs for my orthostatically challenged son, but he cannot/will not swallow tablets or capsules, no matter how small. He has tried many times, for my sake, to swallow pills, but insists they just won't go down. He has developed episodes of dysphagia over the last 6 months, so maybe there has always been a physical reason for not being able to swallow pills, I don't know for certain. All of his pills have to be dissolved in water before he can take them.

He has been nibbling at Celtic sea salt at times over the last four years, and eating salty foods, and his serum sodium is always in the normal range, but I don't know if this is enough. He recently started Florinef, but it doesn't seem to have any effect. I'd like him to be put on a higher dose, but his sodium/potassium levels have always tested good, and both I and his doctor are wary of messing this up. But we have to try something!

I do know someone who gives thermotabs to her POTSY son (same age as my son, 16), and she says they have helped him immensely, and he takes fludrocortisone too. (Her son swallows a handful of pills every morning, all at once. I am jealous!) But he does have a problem with constant nausea.

Is anything added in the Thermotabs, or is it pure sodium? If I can get my son to increase his potassium intake, I think we might try the Thermotabs.
Thanks for reminding me they are an option.

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"NUUN" tablets (water dissolvable tabs) are also an option, and can be found in most sport-stores (like bike shops etc... and costco). you can also get pedialyte packets that you can add to water, and they are electrolyte rich in a balanced way. Zipp-Fizz is also not bad, but has guarana in it = basically caffeine (= a diuretic), so not as ideal for hydration supplements.

good luck!

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The other ingredients besides salt are 15 mg of potassium, microcrystaline cellulose, dextrose, calcium carbonate, sodium starch glycolate, stearic acid. The other thing I do sometimes is drink V8 juice or broth. Both have a very high amount of sodium, and the V8 has a good amount of potassium as well.

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Yes, V8 is a good choice. My son drank a lot of V8 last year, and turned yellow! I think possibly because of his hypothyroidism, he wasn't able to metabolize so much betacarotene, and his skin, especially his feet and hands, became very yellow. Actually, it was only 10 to 15 oz. a day. He does not like the taste of V8 anymore and will not drink it. Sigh.
He started drinking half a cup of chicken broth daily after having the flu last April. He still drinks it, a full cup now, and I add extra sea salt to it. I think it helps, but he won't drink it every day.
Hmm.... I think I'll go make him some right now.
Thanks, for every idea you can come up with!

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Yes, I had the same problem. I drank so much V8 that I got tired of it. For a while I wouldn't touch it, but now it's ok to have every now and then. I think it's important to have a variety of drinks to prevent this from happening, so I also drink gatorade. I add sea salt to the mixes. Since gatorade already has some salt in it, adding a little more seems to taste fine. I also like to make french fries, baked or fried, add lots of sea salt then add cheese. (French fries are a tasty salt delivery system :) )

I also enjoy tea, but I am not supposed to drink it alone too much since it is a diuretic and thus lowers blood pressure. So, in addition to the iced tea bag, I add a licorice tea bag. Licorice is a natural antidiuretic and helps to counteract the diuretic effect of the iced tea. (In fact on the box, it says do not use it if you have high blood pressure. I knew this was the stuff for me :) ). It also adds sweetness.

I am also on Florinef. My doctor wanted to increase my dose from 1 pill to 2 pills a day, but when I tried this I had side effects. The pills are scored, so I tried 1 and 1/2 pills and that seemed to do the trick. You might talk to your doctor about increasing the dose slowly this way.

Hope your son feels better!

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Asking my son's doctor to raise his Florinef has been uppermost in my mind for the last two weeks! He's only on .05 once a day, and I want to try .1, or .05 twice a day. I think he's just not getting enough to make any difference. I'm going to email the doc in a couple of days anyway, to see if he received blood test results. I will ask about the Florinef.
LOL I have tried soooo many foods and supplements for my son over the last seven years, my kitchen looked like a pharmacy until just last weekend. I finally put away all the supplements that he has refused to take. I guess I'll never know if they could have helped him.
He did try a little V8 last night, but he already had an upset stomach. He promised to try again today.
I have to be extremely careful not to give him estrogenic foods, like licorice. He hates the taste of it anyway. He used to be a tea drinker, but had to stop.
He usually feels okay for about three weeks at a time, then he'll start to have stomach or swallowing issues for a few days. As long as he's just sitting he has very few symptoms, but any movement, even taking six steps to cross the room is too much for him. His orthostatic hypotension has been severe for almost three years, but it has gone untreated most of that time, because his docs just didn't know what to do. I am going to push for more aggressive treatment.

Take care of yourself. Thanks again for your suggestions.

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Thanks for the information about Thermotabs. I'd never heard of them before and they sound like a great idea. I'm used to carrying around a salt shaker with me and over-salting food; a buffered tablet sounds a lot easier and less messy. Besides which, I get tired of the disapproving stares I get when I'm out in public and people see me pouring what they perceive as a ton of salt on my food or (heaven forbid!) dumping one of those fast food salt packets directly into my mouth. Good thing I'm getting old enough they just assume I'm senile and don't know any better anymore.

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Thanks for sharing!! My pressure is always low, then I have to take a med for my heart that lowers it still. I will definetley try it. (:

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I didnt read through all the posts so its possible someone gave you this answer BUt

i had low blood sugar and blood pressure and I had to take meds for both that was 4yrs ago.

Theres these granola bars the sweet n salty peanut bars (also comes in almonds and stuff) that works great the nuts keep you full as well as the salt and other good things in nuts helping blood pressure

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And then, there are potato chips...nom nom!!

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IceLizard,
I am still trying to wrap my head around this thing after seeing Dr. Grubb. 2 1/2 years ago when the near syncope started cardiologist suspected neurocardiogenic syncope but then treated me with salt/fluids/and later found runs of tachy on 30 day event monitor and treated me for that. Last year, they felt it was more the neurocardiogenic syncope, still trying various meds. This spring the docs decided it was POTS and with such a debilitating summer, by the time I saw Dr. Grubb in Oct. he told me had he seen me a year ago (having my records from that time) he would have concurred with POTS but that now I have orthopedic hypotension.

It seems the least little thing I do--even in this cooler weather where I might bend over or raise my arms or stand for a short period--here it comes. Dr. Grubb was emphatic that because of the pooling of blood/fluid in my purple feet while there--'NO SALT FOR YOU'. He's increased the Mestinon to 5 mg 3X day plus taking the Midodrine 15 mg 2 X/day and as needed.

I can't understand if this physiological change with the standing intolerance if from the debilitation summer or if it is secondary to the EDS. Dr. Grubb showed how connective tissue involves muscles and the veins and I thought maybe that was why my legs are so very weak. Physical therapy (aquacizer treadmil) to try to strengthen the legs has done nothing that I've noticed yet (short of making me so exhausted by the time I get home, it's as if I'd been drugged). I've read about orthostatic intolerance that can result from things like parkinson's or diabetes (which thankfully I don't have)--nor have they found heart disease with me. But I do have the osteomyelitis. I read that orthostatic hypotension/intolerance can occur from prolonged bedrest--which my most comfortable way to sit is semi-reclined on my sofa (since my glutteal muscles/tendons were ripped off the hip bone when I got hit by a car), sitting straight up puts too much strain on the hip. I keep my legs elevated whenever I sit. Then I have to take the water pill to move the fluid. And the water pill makes me weaker and BP a little lower (which we don't need).

I go to a follow-up to my PCP tomorrow to tell her about Dr. Grubb's findings and the low globulins and T-helper cells my infectious disease Dr. found. I want to try to remember to ask her about the B-12 shots again.

I am really worried from what I read that this orthostatic hypotension and Dr. Grubb's emphasis that the regulatory mechanisms are no longer functioning and that I can expect more episodes to be without any warning at all. Is this the progression of autonomic failure? When I read about studies with that--well if multiple body systems are involved (EDS?) the long-term prognosis is not so good.

I don't know what questions to ask my doctor when I see her. Do I need more tests to find out what is the cause or are those kinds of things left to researchers since all other tests have been done (i.e. labs, echo, EKG, stress test, tilt table test, dopplers of the legs, MRI/MRA brain + neck, 24 hour urines, etc.). It sounds like I've been given a sentence. Is that why Dr. Grubb sent me the book 'When Bad Things Happen to Good People'? It would be nice to have a prognosis to help to prepare my family.

I am down to 94 1/2 lbs I suppose from the nausea and how much energy the body is using to keep me upright. Some days it takes all my inertia to get out of bed--but I always get out of bed and while it may take me til noon to get dressed, I still try my best to do what I can. I often find that a trip to the clothes dryer carrying a load of clothes to the bedroom to be put away, I'll have to lie on my side on the bed to sort everything and try to fold things (probably from having to bend to reach back into the dryer). I can't afford to lose more weight. I eat but sometimes get either child or senior portions simply because I get full before finishing some of the things that are 'full portion' at restaurant (but I think a lot of restaurants give more than one needs--especially when not burning calories by physical activity). I hate ensure and sustical. I made smoothies this summer but have gotten to the point that I can't even stand long enough to crush the ice. So when I need to snack, since it can't be crackers or chips or ice cream or candy bars and such (have high cholesterol, too), I grab fruit. I eat breakfast (have to with my meds) and then am nauseous til about noon. Then more meds and snack mid afternoon. And then eat dinner. I'm not one to snack at night unless am feeling overheated--then eat frozen fruit bars or Italian ices or something like that.

When the weather gets cold--I can't stand it. All I want to do is wrap in a blanket (the hands and legs hurt). Even my grandson who was sitting with me on the sofa yesterday asked me 'why my legs were wet'. I told him they weren't wet. Then he said 'oh, no, they're not--they're cold' (he had snow pants on and could feel them thru that). And if the heat kicks on, I feel like I'm smothering.

Any suggestions would be appreciated (but I did want to say that with my orthostatic hypotension and the blood pooling Dr. Grubb was emphatic--no salt--plus they are trying to get me hypertensive).

Thank you for lending a listening ear and letting me try to express my confusion with all of this.

Is this a curse of EDS?

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Strange. I would think Dr. Grubb would want you to have more salt. I have POTS and orthostatic hypotension and Dr. Mouhaffel, who worked with Dr. Grubb, emphasized greatly that I needed more salt. Salt helps the Florinef to work to help you retain water and increase blood pressure. I'm sure he has his reasons, though. Maybe it's because if you increase blood volume with blood pooling so severe, it would just make the pooling worse and give you edema.

Like you I was very underweight when I saw Dr. Grubb. I am 5'6" and weighed only 108 pounds. I had trouble eating due to nausea, indigestion and feeling full, and because when I ate, especially carbohydrates, it tended to make my heart rate worse. I had to force myself to eat. For some reason, being put on an SNRI like Cymbalta really helped me to tolerate food. To keep up my weight I would try to snack throughout the day on things like crackers, yogurt, and soup. I think you can snack on crackers and cereal like Cheerios even if you have high cholesterol, as long as they are whole grain. Here's a good link that explains some foods that help with high cholesterol. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-cholesterol/DS00178/DSECTION=li festyle%2Dand%2Dhome%2Dremedies You can try nuts as well. The problem with eating fruit is that fruit does not have a lot of calories, and you need to gain weight.

The other thing that helped me was doing exercises in bed. If you have trouble tolerating standing, try lifting small ankle weights and dumbbells in bed. The other thing I would do is get up, do 1 squat, then lay back down and rest. I would do 1 squat every 15 minutes or so. Over the course of the day it added up and improved my strength.

Also like you at times my heart rate would go wild even by doing simple things like turning over in bed. When my heart rate is too sensitive and too high, I take a very tiny piece of beta blocker to bring it down. I take just enough to slow the heart a little, but hopefully not enough to lower my blood pressure too much. It lowers the sensitivity of my heart rate to changes in position.

I have stabilized quite a bit since I saw Dr. Grubb. I now eat normally and weight a healthy 136 pounds. Dr. Grubb seemed to think what was going on with me was due to EDS and he also gave me a copy of "Why Bad Things Happen to Good People."

It seems to me that if you are having trouble with things like removing clothing from the drier, maybe you should refrain from doing things like that for a while. Just try and focus on relaxation, resting, exercise, and snacking. Don't worry about trying to clean or do housework if possible. Focus on improving your health as much as you can, everything else can wait.

I hope you feel better!

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IceLizard - Going to WalGreens tomorrow! I have a hard time finding healthy, salty snacks and also do broth and V8. I especially have a hard time when I get busy at work and can feel my BP dropping and I don't have time to get to a good source of salt. Thanks for the tip! I have a small tip, but everyone on here is so stinkin' smart that I'm sure everyone knows it already. If I find myself in line at a grocery store or something and can tell my BP is starting to go, I can cross my legs and flex to get me through short periods of time like that until I can get to the car to my water and salt. Maybe someone will find that of some benefit. It beats taking out the candy rack in front of everyone.

RubyTuesday - I see Dr. Grubb too and he did NOT send you that back because you have such a poor prognosis!! It's my belief that he genuinely feels bad that we all have these issues and wants you to know that he's not just another doctor that doesn't care because he does. I got the book too and I understand he sends it to his patients from time to time. Also, listen to IceLizard! The housework will wait! Spend your efforts doing things that will make you better right now, not worse. As far as exercise goes, the electrophysiologist at the Cleveland Clinic (before I saw Dr. Grubb), made me promise no upright exercises. He said the #1 exercise all of his POTS patients got a benefit from was a rowing machine because you're sitting down, legs in front of you and working out the whole body without all the blood pooling and less stress on the heart. I'm going to buy one as soon as I figure out how to cram one more piece of equipment in my basement. :) Since you've had your caboose torn off, is that something you could even do? Anyway, I went through a debilitating summer and fall last year after I had endovenous laser therapy on my legs to "fix" my varicose veins and venous pooling, pre EDS/PTS Dx. I couldn't stay upright to save my soul and you get down on yourself and things seem bleak, but you will get stronger. Just don't give up trying the things that help because inactivity only makes things about a gazillion times worse, but you have to work up the stamina. IceLizard's suggestion of Cymbalta is a good one, especially if it can help with you being able to eat more. It did a wonderful job of helping with my POTS. I say help because I too am on mestonin, propranolol, midrodrine along with the cymbalta. Better living through chemistry, ya know! :)
Seriously, much luck and support to you. Oh and funny, I also feel like I'm smothering when the heat kicks on, no matter how cold I am. I always thought that was weird.

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Thank you MissOSUFan and IceLizard,

I tried the crackers but have to watch the trans fats and sodium so to me, they taste like I'm eating cardboard. I do eat a bowl of cereal as a snack (with 2% milk). I've tried the low sodium soups, too, but they taste so nasty--like dishwater. I've even tried adding the Mrs. Dash salt substitute (also tastes nasty). My PCP told me a PB sandwich wouldn't hurt me cholesterol-wise so I do eat that or toast with the no trans fats.
I do try to exercise the legs in bed and on sofa but haven't added my weigths yet. I did go thru a course of physical therapy a physiatrist put me on in Aug. but I couldn't do the ones upright (my therapist insisted that I could until down I went after several minutes of trying to stand on one leg). I did do the other exercises on the bed or floor. I had been doing them for several weeks when I had gone outside to replant some spring bulbs for the fall (that I'd inadvertently pulled up thinking they were wild onions). I almost got them all in when I knew I couldn't tolerate the squatting and stood up pulling/straining that same hip and upper back. I was in agony for weeks (I won't use the ER), living on the heating pad, and using Lidoderm patches when not on the pad but could barely walk and even those measures were not even close to getting rid of that terrible pain.
Up until this past spring, when I had an episode riding my bike (used to ride 10 miles/day), I put the bike down until docs got these things figured out, but still tried to stay active (ergo passing out 3 times this summer and too many close calls to count but I didn't know I shouldn't be out if over 90 degrees, which is a big adjustment to me as a passion with biking was wind and sun, and I'd have to go out early before sun got hot). I sure can't do squats with this hip/glut problem. DH told me to bend at the knees (squat) to get clothes out of dryer instead of bending/leanig into the back of the machine to get the clothes out but I'm only 5'2 1/2", can't squat like that, if I get on my knees for few minutes, I can't get up without help and even if I could, I would still have to bend at the waiste to reach back with my short arms. It never occured to me until reading more about orthostatic hypotension that bending at the waist was a no-no, and trying to figure out yesterday, why, when I was doing okay up until then (and other times getting to the bedroom with the fresh laundry) why this was happening to me, then.
I think the salt restriction is because the blood pooling is significant. My feet were purplish black from the long car ride and sitting in the waiting area--even though I would get up and down as sitting too long hurts this hip so. I was wondering if since I'd had POTS and now it's OH, if this is a progressive failure of my ANS since Dr. Grubb told me my 'mechanisms' were failing to respond anymore. Autonomic failure is not a good thing and that's what really worries me.
This no salt--blood pooling too bad is what alarms me that other systems/structures are involved now (i.e. the EDS on the veins and muscles) and the effects of all these episodes, especially over the past summer on the vital organs/muscles/joints and tissues.
I went to a stationary bike without resistance to continue the leg/ankle motion--10 miles in about 50 min. But Dr. Grubb said recumbent bike.
MissOSUFan,
I found a great stationary bike (cheap with free shipping) thru Golf Outlet (I think) on Amazon. So went looking for a fold up recumbent stationary bike (has wheels--also very reasonably priced--portable/doesn't weigh a ton) also on Amazon. It is on its way. I am hoping that hopping on that will help get rid of the swelling in the legs/feet so I don't have to take the water pill as much.

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This site helped me understand the effects of the blood pressure issues:
http://forums.dinet.org/index.php?app=core&module=search&do=search&fromMain Bar=1

It seems autonomic dysfunction is the issue. I'm going to try the Thermotabs for my daughter who
almost passed out in PT yesterday and still managed to get through her day/night at school. I would think
that monitoring the b/p while taking the Thermotabs would be a good idea though because of the sensitivity factor.

She had a positive tilt table test but like all of you was advised...salt, water, Gatorade, etc.

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Dear Ruby Tuesday1

POTS is part and parcel of EDS III. The low blood pressure is a direct result of it. Basically it's physiological, our stretchy blood vessels means blood tends to pool in our feet. Walking helps as the valves in the legs and muscles used when walking actually help pump the blood back to the heart. Our legs are sometimes called a 'second heart'. Salt and cortisone type drugs help to correct POTS by physiologically increasing blood pressure. Our gut is also stretchy leading to functional problems like IBS. The gut is rich in serotonin, which may explain problems with abdominal migraine. The gut is also called a 'second brain' because of high levels of serotonin. The stretchy vessels in our brain predispose us to migraines as well. POTS is part of a larger problem we have called parasympathetic dysautonomia.

I can understand something of what is going on as I studied physiology at university, but don't believe I fully understand it. Maybe no-one does yet though. If you haven't already you may find it helpful to read articles by Dr Bravo. He has written a guide for patients http://www.reumatologia-dr-bravo.cl/patients/Dysautonomia.htm. His English is a bit quaint but he is a rheumatologist who has EDS himself. Is there any way you could organise help with housework, even bartering with friends/family. If you have some sort of skill eg: book-keeping, tutoring etc that is less demanding physically. I found it easier to work, and pay a cleaner to do the physically demanding aspects of housework that caused me pain and exhaustion eg: scrubbing bathtub, vacuuming. A college student may be able to use the money for example. People with EDS get very little understanding and support. How can you ask for help/ explain if you don't even know what the problem is?

In the last few months I have made a lot of progress, but still have to organise a specialist to see me regarding POTS problem. EDS is a complex problem to have to deal with, and I sincerely hope you get the help and support you need.

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Anyone having problems with nausea may try peppermint tea or peppermint lollies found at chemists. Peppermint is used in Mylanta as both an anti-nausea medication and flavoring.

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Now I know why V8 picked me up. I thought it was the vitamins!

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Just a word of caution about nut bars. If you get migraines you may want to avoid them as both tree nuts and peanuts are high in tyramine.

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Thank you for the wonderful information, maziznos.
The article sounds describes me a lot (except for the anxiety and faint at the site of blood having come from the health care industry and being a bleeder). I force myself to go out in the evening to socialize with friends for an hour or so at a local McDs. I only do it so I won't become even more reclusive. I think what my understanding is that I had had POTS where when the blood pressure dropped, the heart rate in part over-responded by making me tachy. This is no longer the case and my heart rate is not surging nearly as high (just to the 111-120ish range whereas before it'd be in 140-160s range). I imagine this is why I now am left with orthostatic hypotension, with the specialist telling me that my ANS is failing and I will have more/progressive syncopal episodes without warning, and why with the blood pooling so bad--no salt for me (coupled with the meds he has me on to get me hypertensive that do not include Flourinef--altho I was on that when I was first diagnosed as neurocardiogenic syncope). The cardiac specialist also mentioned that I may need a pacemaker 'down the road'. I don't understand the dynamics of it but I think am sure learning a lot from resourses like all of you have so generously shared. I just threw out a big bottle of expired V-8 (what cardiologist had me guzzling a year ago, but then stopped--not knowing if they'd recommend it again). I love the stuff and miss it. But I take it that this ADS failure is progressive and in me is progressing. It bothers me that I used to be a public servant so many years and now I have to make myself go out for the least little bit, and when I do, I pay for it by the fluid retention that I have to take a Bumex for and then that, in turn, will make me more fatigued from the every 10-15 min. trips to the bathroom for about 2 1/2 hours and more dehydrated and drops the blood pressure. Then I have the bathroom days with the IBS and the migraines that come out of no where, coupled with the narcolepsy and glutteal muscles and tendons that were torn off my hip bone when hit by a car that do not enable me to tolerate sitting upright for very long time at all. It puts too much strain on the SI and there is no reconstructive surgery that can be done at this point to repair it. More or less being forced into early 'disability retirement' certainly made up tighten our purse strings.
I used to be very bright--had a Master's degree and maintain an active license in my health care profession (altho in my heart of hearts I know I could not be 'dependable' and no employer would put up with all the days of the 'attacks' the restrictions and stipulations and never knowing that I'll have summoned the energy to take 1/2 the day to dress and shower). My family is expecting me to make Xmas dinner this year (small family but still a lot of work). I've always had to pace myself and be satisfied with whatever I do get done as positives. I pay for that for anywhere from a day to days, though, but then get back on the horse to tackle some more. And my grandson who is now 7 1/2 and wants a lot of 'small' things, so when he visits, I will sometimes give him an opportunity to earn a treat or something he wants (and he's getting to where he doesn't even ask me is he can have something for helping me). I really give the positive reinforcement/praises/bragging about him in front of everyone. I have also learned to ask my (grown) adult son from time to time to help me do something that I absolutely cannot do. I couldn't tutor anymore as I have such cognition and memory issues and difficulty with concentration and staying awake. After my physical therapy in the aquacizer I literally collapse when I get home and sleep all afternoon. I do keep my legs elevated when semi-recumbent and keep the ankles/calves pumping off and on when I'm awake.
The jobsts stockings compression that my cardiologist ordered takes 2 of us to get them on and off and I cannot see the benefit of wearing the thigh high at all when at 95 lbs, the tops just fall down to the knees (they are tight up to that point), so I have purchased a less 'hosery' look knee high stocking with a little compression to wear around as anything is better than nothing.
The cold and the heat intolerance extremes are terrible. These vasoconstrictors (and when it's cold here) make it feel that I'm getting an IV infusion of ice water. I don't know if you have ever touched a corpse but I am that cold. Going to doctor's (even before the vasoconstrictors) in cold weather--they'd have to warm me up to get my temp up on the thermometer. If I got cold and it was a nice day outside--I would run outside just to sit on the swing under the tree to feel the sun--soaking it in and yet would find this summer that the least few minutes outside, I'd have the near syncope or syncope and now the cardiac specialist tells me I shouldn't even be outdoors if the temp goes over 90 degrees (and we'd tied our record for days above 90 degrees since I think the late 1930s or whenever they began measuring such things).
The doctor who diagnosed my EDS III was also a rheumatologist who specialized in fibromyalgia. He felt I had both.
I will look to see if I can find more of Dr. Bravo's articles--easy to understand. Thank you so much for sharing and the good wishes. I wish you the same.

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