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June 26, 2018

Tori and Nick Foles tackling disorder that causes constant dizziness

Many people go years before learning they have POTS

Tori Foles spent six weeks searching for the reason for the seemingly constant dizziness she began experiencing shortly after college.

Foles, the wife of Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a malfunction of the automatic nervous system. Better known as POTS, the chronic syndrome often causes fatigue, fainting, dizziness and a rapid heartbeat.

Though POTS is considered a common disorder, people often spend several years searching for the reason for their conditions. The largest POTS survey, conducted by Vanderbilt and the University of Calgary, found most people spent an average of four years before receiving a POTS diagnosis. They saw an average of seven doctors.

Foles considers herself fortunate to have received the diagnosis relatively soon, according to a CNN story detailing the couple's experience with POTS. Foles' doctor initially thought she might be experiencing anxiety or depression. But she went back for additional tests.

"He had me stand up and took my vitals," Foles wrote in her blog. 

"My heart rate went up by about 40 bpm. BINGO. If your heart rate is increasing by more than 30 bpm upon standing, then you have POTS and your autonomic nervous system is not regulating things. It took 1 minute to figure out."

Tori and Nick Foles have sought to increase awareness of POTS, which affects 1-3 million Americans.

Treatments for POTS include improvements to sleep hygiene, aerobic exercise and strength training and cognitive behavioral therapy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Medicinal treatments include Fludrocortisone, beta blockers and serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

They shared their experiences last weekend at the annual meeting of Dysautonomia International, a nonprofit that conducts POTS research. Nick Foles, the unlikely Super Bowl MVP, also detailed it in his new book, Believe It.

Tori Foles spent a month at the Mayo Clinic, where the couple got engaged, according to CNN. The couple, which met at the University of Arizona, married two months later at a courthouse, but never took a honeymoon.

"It was tough for me because I was still healthy," Foles told CNN

"And I could see what she was going through. But she's amazing and we've grown closer together."

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