Dealing with a severe illness can be challenging both physically and emotionally.
It becomes more challenging when the people around you do not understand what you are going through.
Most celebrities silently battle rare, and at times, undocumented illnesses that affect their daily productivity. One such condition is POTS.
What is POTS?
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a medical condition that affects the autonomic nervous system’s function.
This is the part that controls the involuntary body functions, which include heart rate, digestion, and blood pressure.
As its name suggests, the condition is related to a person’s posture, whether lying down or standing upright, and causes a fast heart rate that is abnormal.
Though POTS can affect people of any age or gender, it is most common among women between the ages of 15 and 50 and has no cure.
POTS can be triggered by underlying medical conditions such as autoimmune disorders, traumatic situations, or viral infections.
In fact, many people have been diagnosed with POTS after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The rapid increase in heart rate when a POTS patient stands up can cause the following symptoms:
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
- Chest pain/discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Brain fog/difficulty concentrating
- Rapid/irregular heartbeat
- Blurred vision/sensitivity to light
Celebrities with POTS Syndrome
1. Tori Moore
Moore is a former volleyball player and wife of Nick Foles, an American National Football League quarterback.
She began playing football in high school and continued till college. She quit playing when she started working at Nike.
Moore was diagnosed with POTS in 2013 after experiencing continuous dizziness to the point where she couldn’t get out of bed at times.
She and her husband have since then helped raise awareness about POTS and helped others diagnose and manage the condition.
2. Mara Wilson
Wilson is an American actress and writer famous for playing little Natalie Hillard in the 1993 comedy-drama film Mrs. Doubtfire alongside Robin Williams.
Wilson was diagnosed with POTS on July 30, 2021, after four years of continuous dizziness and fainting.
Since her diagnosis, Wilson has made lifestyle changes to help manage the condition.
She started wearing compression socks and cut off caffeine and alcohol.
3. Greg Page
Page is an Australian actor, musician, and singer.
He was a founding member and original lead singer of the Wiggles, a children’s band, before quitting in 2006.
Page started experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, slurred speech, faint spells, and trembling in 2005, significantly affecting his performance.
After getting the correct diagnosis, he was informed that he had POTS syndrome, which he had been suffering from for 12 years but was triggered by his hernias in 2005.
4. Bethenny Frankel
Frankel is an American actress, author, entrepreneur, and TV personality.
She spoke about her battle with POTS in February 2023 after her posts on Instagram left her fans questioning the changes in her facial appearance.
She stated that she had to make some changes, such as avoiding liquor, though the dry climate and high altitude have left her dehydrated and in pain.
Frankel spoke about fighting the condition and staying strong for the sake of her daughter, though she is having a hard time.
5. Adam Jacobs
Jacobs is a UK-born international photographer.
He began experiencing migraine headaches when he was 18 after joining college.
For him, managing the condition was quite a challenge, especially since multiple tests in London bore no answers.
He was forced to stay home for two years, where he required everyone to whisper around him.
He kept curtains closed at all times and wore sunglasses indoors to manage the migraines.
He moved to the US at age 21, but it took another five years to be diagnosed with POTS syndrome.
6. Sophie Hillyerd
Sophie is an English goalkeeper and plays for the West Ham women’s youth team.
The 20-year-old started noticing her heart racing, lightheadedness, dizziness, and severe chest pains in 2021 after she was affected by a COVID-19 outbreak.
After seeking medical attention, she was diagnosed with POTS syndrome.
She was able to manage her condition, and three months after her diagnosis, she resumed training.
Halsey is an American singer-songwriter. Since an early age, she has been dealing with multiple health issues, some of which were only diagnosed later in life.
She was diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder at the age of 17.
After the birth of her son in 2021, she was also diagnosed with POTS disease, among other conditions, which she had been dealing with for over 8 years.
8. Brittany Murphy
Murphy was an American actress and singer. She died on December 20, 2009, at the age of 32.
Though the cause of her death is unknown, in an interview, her elder half-brother revealed that Murphy had Dysautonomia, a neurological syndrome.
POTS is a form of Dysautonomia. Jeff also mentioned that he and several women in their family also suffered from this condition.
Given that drastic weight loss is often associated with Dysautonomia, it is likely what Murphy suffered from in the early 2000s when her weight loss was linked to rumors about her use of cocaine.
9. Nicole O’Hara
Nicole is an American TV presenter for Spectrum News.
She began experiencing POTS symptoms in June 2020, though she didn’t know what it was.
Several visits to the cardiologist were in vain, and so she decided to manage the condition on her own.
However, in March 2021, her symptoms worsened, so she decided to visit the Mayo Clinic for a diagnosis, where she was informed that she had POTS syndrome.
The Connection between POT and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is often confused with POTS, perhaps because of the similarity in symptoms.
Both conditions have overlapping symptoms, such as fatigue, brain fog, and sleep disturbances.
Fibromyalgia is also triggered or worsened by underlying medical conditions, stress, and physical activity.
According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Consultant Cardiologist and Heart Specialist, POTS and Fibromyalgia often occur together.
In fact, close to 50% of POTS patients also have Fibromyalgia, which suggests that both conditions may have a common underlying cause.
Some of the celebrities with Fibromyalgia include:
Freeman was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2008 after he was involved in a car accident.
Despite the excruciating pain from his condition, he has been open about his struggles resulting from Fibromyalgia.
He has often talked about his feelings of isolation and difficulty concentrating.
Lady Gaga revealed that she had Fibromyalgia in 2017, which caused severe pain, leading to the cancellation of several tours in her career.
She has been open about her battle with the condition, how it has affected her, and how she feels when it is disregarded as a medical condition.
Living with POTS is challenging. It affects a person’s ability to perform daily tasks and lead a normal life.
However, the celebrities mentioned in this post prove that with proper diagnosis and treatment, people with POTS can manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.
By coming forward and openly discussing their diagnosis, they also raise awareness about this condition, which often goes unnoticed in our social interactions with others.