Never Ignore Your Doctor's Advice About Your Blood Pressure

I have always been in pretty good health, so I was surprised one day when my doctor told me my blood pressure was a bit high. She told me to begin watching my salt intake, start exercising, and to try to relax. Well, I intended to follow her advice when I left her office, but the next day I was back to my same habits. I kept using the salt shaker and didn't begin an exercise routine like I had planned. When I went for my next check-up, she told me that my blood pressure was even higher and approaching a dangerous level. I had to begin a blood pressure medication to manage it. I wanted to create a blog to share my story and remind people to listen to their doctors' advice. If a few lifestyle changes can improve your health, then you should make them.

MRI Scan for POTS? Here's Why and What to Expect

Health & Medical Blog

If you've recently been diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), you may be wondering why your physician has requested for you to have an MRI scan of your head and neck. While it may be confusing, there are good reasons for your physician to want to see imaging of your head and neck. Here's why and what you need to know about getting an MRI of your head and neck. 

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is a group of symptoms that have an unknown or unidentifiable etiology or cause. There are a number of things that can cause POTS to develop, such as infection, brain injury, and multiple sclerosis, but researchers haven't yet been able to pinpoint exactly why or what the mechanisms are that lead to POTS developing in those medical conditions.

To put it simply: POTS is a group of symptoms caused by something. Your medical team has to figure out what that "something" may be for you. 

MRI of Head and Neck 

An MRI of the head and neck will produce imaging that will enable your medical team to see if there are any structural or anatomical issues in your brain, brain stem, or spine that may cause what is called dysautonomia, which could lead to your body's inability to regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Dysautonomia is the dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which can be caused by conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Chiari malformation, craniocervical instability, or other conditions that can be seen through MRI imaging. 

Depending on the findings from your neurological and diagnostic exams, your medical team may order MRI scans with or without contrast dye, open or closed, weighted or not weighted, and upright or prone. There are also MRI scans called cine MRIs, which for the head/neck region are used to show the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid. 


It's a good idea to have a good understanding of which type of MRI imaging you will have beforehand so you can prepare for what you will go through as someone with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Since hydration is crucial for POTS patients, you may be given an IV of saline solution even if your MRI is without contrast dye. Whether your MRI is upright or prone, be sure the attendants know that you have POTS and can only sit up and stand up slowly and with great care. If at any time you feel yourself going into "fight-or-flight" mode, let the attendants know immediately. 


22 March 2021