A woman and her daughter enjoy a day at the beach, illustrating the potential hereditary connection in POTS.

Is POTS Genetic? Exploring the Genetic Factors

You’ve probably heard of POTS, or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, and all of the not-so-fun symptoms that come with it like dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and major fatigue, just to name a few. But have you ever wondered, “Is POTS genetic? Could I have inherited it from my family?"

Well, you're not alone in asking these questions! As POTS gains more recognition, many people are curious about the role genetics might play in this complex condition. And while researchers are still working to connect all the dots, there are some pretty fascinating clues that point to a hereditary link.

Essential Takeaways:
  • Genetics May Play a Role in POTS: Research suggests that genetics might influence who gets POTS, with factors like autonomic nervous system dysfunction and connective tissue disorders possibly contributing to the condition.

  • Family History Matters: POTS often runs in families, so knowing your family history can help with early diagnosis and better management of symptoms, making it easier to get the support and treatment you need.

So, is POTS inherited? Let's take a closer look.

Understanding POTS

First, let's make sure we're all on the same page about what POTS is. POTS is a condition that affects the autonomic nervous system, which controls things like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and temperature regulation.

When the autonomic nervous system isn’t working properly, it can lead to the symptoms associated with POTS, including:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness upon standing
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches

While the exact causes of POTS aren't fully understood, experts believe that a combination of genetic and non-genetic factors may play a role (1).

Types of POTS

While POTS is a complex condition with various symptoms, there are a few different types of POTS that are recognized by experts. These include:

  • Neuropathic POTS: This type of POTS is caused by damage to the peripheral nervous system, which can affect blood flow and heart rate.
  • Hyperadrenergic POTS: In this type, the body produces too much norepinephrine, a hormone that regulates blood pressure and heart rate, leading to symptoms like rapid heartbeat and tremors.
  • Low Blood Volume POTS: Some people with POTS have lower than normal blood volume, which can contribute to symptoms like dizziness and fainting.
  • Primary POTS: Also known as idiopathic POTS, this type of POTS has no identifiable underlying cause. It is often diagnosed when other types of POTS and potential underlying conditions have been ruled out.
  • Secondary POTS: This type of POTS occurs as a result of another underlying condition, such as diabetes, Lyme disease, or autoimmune disorders (1,2).

Understanding the different types of POTS, including primary POTS, can help healthcare providers better diagnose and treat the condition based on the specific underlying causes and symptoms.

The Importance of Hydration and Electrolyte Balance

Staying hydrated and maintaining proper electrolyte balance is crucial for managing POTS symptoms. Incorporate electrolyte-rich fluids and snacks into your daily routine, and consider adding hydration supplements to your daily routine. Always consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best hydration strategy for your individual needs.

For more detailed information about POTS, including its symptoms and management, check out our guide, What is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)?

The Role of Genetics in POTS

When we talk about genetics and POTS, we're really talking about something called genetic predisposition. Essentially, this means that certain genetic factors might make someone more likely to develop POTS.

Genetic Predisposition

Genetic predisposition refers to the increased likelihood of developing a condition based on one's genetic makeup. This doesn’t guarantee that someone will develop POTS, but it means they have a higher risk compared to those without the genetic factors (3).

Influence of Genetics on POTS Symptoms

With POTS, researchers are increasingly interested in how genetics might influence who develops this condition and how severe their symptoms might be. Genetic factors may play a significant role in the development and severity of POTS symptoms. Here’s how:

  • Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction: POTS is characterized by issues with the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary bodily functions like heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. Some genetic variations can affect how this system operates, leading to the symptoms seen in POTS (3).
  • Connective Tissue Disorders: Genetic conditions like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which affect the body's connective tissues, are known to co-occur with POTS. These disorders are hereditary and can contribute to the structural abnormalities and autonomic dysfunction seen in POTS patients (3,6).
  • Immune System and Autoimmunity: There is evidence to suggest that POTS might be linked to autoimmune disorders, where the body's immune system attacks its own tissues. Genetic predisposition to autoimmune diseases could therefore increase the risk of developing POTS (3,5).
  • Blood Volume and Circulation: Genetic variations can affect blood volume and circulation, both critical factors in POTS. For example, some people with POTS have genetic variations that lead to low blood volume, which can exacerbate symptoms when they stand up (3).
  • Hormonal Regulation: Genetics can also influence hormonal regulation, which can impact heart rate and blood pressure control. Hormonal imbalances are common in POTS patients and can be linked to genetic factors (3).

Understanding these genetic influences is crucial because it helps explain why POTS can vary so much between individuals. Some people may have a mild form of the condition, while others experience severe, debilitating symptoms.

Identifying genetic markers associated with POTS could lead to better diagnosis and more personalized treatments, ultimately improving the quality of life for those affected by this condition.

Future Research

As research continues, the hope is that we will uncover more specific genetic mutations and pathways that contribute to POTS, paving the way for targeted therapies and interventions. In the meantime, recognizing the potential genetic components of POTS is an important step in managing the condition and supporting those who live with it (3).

Two women walking and laughing on a sunny trail, representing the discussion of genetic predisposition in POTS.

Genetics can help explain why POTS symptoms can be so different from person to person and why it may run in families.


Family History and Hereditary Factors

One of the biggest clues that POTS might have a genetic component is the fact that it often runs in families. Studies and case reports have shown that people with POTS are more likely to have a close family member (like a parent or sibling) who also has the condition (3,4).

These findings have led researchers to investigate further into the question, “Is POTS inherited?”

Is POTS Inherited?

For example, one study found that about 15% of people with POTS had a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) who also had POTS or a similar condition. Another study found that having a family member with POTS increased the risk of developing the condition by about 3-5 times (4).

So, while having a family history of POTS doesn't guarantee that you'll develop the condition, it does suggest that hereditary factors might play a role.

Research on Genetic Factors

Of course, scientists aren't just relying on family history to understand the genetic aspects of POTS. There's also a growing body of research looking at specific genes and genetic mutations that might be linked to the condition.

Genetic Mutations and POTS

Some studies have found that certain genetic mutations affecting the autonomic nervous system (like those related to the norepinephrine transporter gene) are more common in people with POTS (3).

Other research has identified potential genetic links between POTS and conditions like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and other connective tissue disorders (6).

More Research is Needed

However, it's important to note that this research is still in its early stages. While these findings are exciting, more studies are needed to fully understand the complex genetic factors that contribute to POTS.

Genetics and Comorbid Conditions

One of the reasons understanding the genetic aspects of POTS is so important is that POTS often occurs alongside other health conditions. For example, many people with POTS also have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a group of disorders affecting the connective tissues (6).

Shared Genetic Factors

Research suggests that there may be shared genetic factors that contribute to both POTS and EDS. In fact, some experts believe that POTS may actually be a type of dysautonomia, which refers to a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, that is commonly seen in people with EDS (6).

Understanding these genetic connections could help doctors better diagnose and treat people with POTS and related conditions.

A mother and daughter practicing yoga together indoors, representing the connection between POTS and other health conditions like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

Understanding genetic connections can help diagnose and treat POTS and related conditions like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.


Future Directions in Genetic Research

So, what's next for genetic research on POTS? Well, scientists are hard at work trying to uncover more of the complex genetic factors that contribute to this condition.

Identifying Genetic Risk Factors

Some researchers are focusing on identifying specific genes or genetic mutations that might increase the risk of developing POTS. Others are looking at how genetics might influence the severity and progression of POTS symptoms over time (3).

Inherited POTS and Genetic Predisposition

As researchers continue to investigate the genetic factors behind POTS, they may uncover more information about how POTS is inherited and how genetic predisposition influences the development of the condition (3).

Ultimately, the goal of this research is to improve our understanding of POTS and develop more targeted, effective treatments. By understanding the genetic "recipe" for POTS, scientists hope to find new ways to prevent, diagnose, and manage this challenging condition.

The Bottom Line

So, is POTS genetic? The answer is... maybe. While research suggests that genetic factors do play a role in the development of POTS, it's not the whole story. Environmental factors and other health conditions also contribute to the complex web of causes behind POTS symptoms.

To learn more about the various causes of POTS, explore our comprehensive guide, Understanding What Causes POTS.

Research and Hope for the Future

However, ongoing research into the genetic aspects of POTS is providing valuable clues about how this condition develops and how it might be treated in the future. While genetic factors may play a role in the development of POTS, environmental factors and lifestyle choices also have a significant impact on managing symptoms and overall well-being.

You're Not Alone

If you or someone you love is living with POTS, know that you're not alone. With a growing community of patients, advocates, and researchers, there's never been a more hopeful time to navigate this challenging condition.

Stay informed, talk with your healthcare provider about management strategies, and keep an eye out for new developments in genetic research.

Empowering Yourself with Knowledge

And remember, even though POTS may have a genetic component, you still have the power to manage your symptoms. By understanding your symptoms, taking care of your body, and seeking support, you can take control of your health and thrive with POTS. Hang in there - better days are ahead!

Taking care of yourself is essential when living with POTS. In addition to staying hydrated and maintaining a balanced diet, be sure to prioritize rest, stress management, and gentle exercise as tolerated. Remember, small steps can lead to big improvements in your overall well-being.

A person adding a squeeze of Buoy Hydration Drops to a glass of water to get daily hydration for managing POTS.

Buoy Hydration Drops can help manage POTS symptoms by ensuring proper daily hydration.



  1. Cleveland Clinic. (2022). Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16560-postural-orthostatic-tachycardia-syndrome-pots

  2. Zhao, S. & Tran, V.H. (Updated August 7, 2023). Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541074/

  3. Genetic Lifehacks. (2024). Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS): Genetics, Causes, Symptoms, and Management Strategies. Retrieved from https://www.geneticlifehacks.com/genetic-basis-for-pots-getting-to-the-root-cause/

  4. Medical Home Portal. (n.d.). Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). Retrieved from https://www.medicalhomeportal.org/diagnoses-and-conditions/postural-orthostatic-tachycardia-syndrome

  5. Li, H., Yu, X., Liles, C., Khan, M., Vanderlinde-Wood, M., Galloway, A., Zillner, C., Benbrook, A., Reim, S., Collier, D., Hill, M.A., Raj, S.R., Okamoto, L.E., Cunningham, M.W., Aston, C.E. & Kem, D.C. Autoimmune Basis for Postural Tachycardia Syndrome. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2014 Feb 26;3(1):e000755. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.113.000755. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24572257/

  6. Grigoriou, E., Boris, J. R., & Dormans, J. P. (2015). Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS): Association with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Orthopaedic Considerations. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 473(2), 722–728. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4294907/

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