Katie Graham, 24, had postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) since childhoodThe symptoms include a fast heart rate, dizziness and fatigue after standing upBy Miriam Kuepper
Published: 04:46 EDT, 24 July 2023 | Updated: 13:54 EDT, 24 July 2023
A hero dog saved the life of his 24-year-old owner who suffers from a rare condition by getting her pills and water from the fridge after he was trained to pick up on her scent when she is about to faint.
Katie Graham, from Kennesaw, Georgia, has had postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) since childhood. The condition causes symptoms like dizziness and fatigue after sitting or standing up.
In 2019, she was given Australian Shepherd Bailey as a service dog to help her during sudden attacks.
During a recent episode a camera in Katie’s house captured the moment four-year-old Bailey stepped in to warn her of an impending episode after she got up from her chair to grab a drink to have with her sandwich.
The adorable dog jumped on her to get her to sit down before fetching her medication from the counter and a bottle of water from the fridge. After handing her the bottle he is seen sitting on Katie to give her deep pressure therapy.
Katie Graham, from Kennesaw, Georgia, had postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) since childhood. The condition causes symptoms like dizziness and fatigue after sitting or standing up
The adorable dog jumped on her to get her to sit down and even fetched her medicine from the counter (left) and a bottle of water (right) from the fridge. After handing her the bottle he is seen sitting on Katie to give her deep pressure therapy
Katie told NeedtoKnow.co.uk about her heroic dog: ‘I am so unbelievably grateful to have Bailey in my life.
‘Bailey is trained to pick up a scent my body gives off prior to going into a medical episode.
‘This gives me enough time to get to a safe spot and prepare to lose consciousness.’
She said the syndrome is a ‘very debilitating disability’, but Bailey was helping by getting her medication, water or anything else she could need while she has to stay on the ground.
Bailey also does deep pressure therapy, which helps prevent blood pooling and could prevent Katie from ultimately fainting.
She added: ‘He will go get help if I stop breathing and does hugs to help calm me. He is so determined and quick-witted, I know that despite any challenge, he will ensure to do his job and keep me safe.
‘He allows me to have freedom and to feel safe even when I am alone. He is my lifeline and I could not live without him.’
Katie’s video, which has gone viral on TikTok with more than 24million views, was captioned: ‘Often times PoTS hits you in the most random moments, which is why Bailey is so vital to my health.
Katie said: ‘Bailey is trained to pick up a scent my body gives off prior to going into a medical episode (pictured above). This gives me enough time to get to a safe spot and prepare to lose consciousness’
Katie’s video, which has gone viral on TikTok with more than 24million views, was captioned: ‘Often times PoTS hits you in the most random moments, which is why Bailey is so vital to my health’
After making Katie sit down, Bailey walks to the counter (left) to get her medicine. He jumps on a chair and grabs the pill bottle (right) for Katie before grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge
‘I was just trying to get a drink to go with my sandwich and apparently my heart decided to not work correctly. Without Bailey, I would’ve fainted and could’ve hit my head.’
Thousands of viewers commented on the clip, with many saying they were left in tears.
One person said: ‘I have PoTS and this would be an actual lifesaver,’ while another added: ‘Service dogs continue to blow my mind.’
A third commented: ‘I will never know how service dogs detect these things but they’re absolute heroes.’
‘The way he does it with such haste, not a moment wasted, no hesitation, a real hero,’ said an impressed viewer.
‘Give that pup an award,’ added another.
What is postural tachycardia syndrome? Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) is an abnormal increase in heart rate that occurs after sitting up or standing. Some typical symptoms include dizziness and fainting.
Some people have mild symptoms, while others find the condition affects their quality of life. PoTS often improves gradually over time, and there are some medicines and self-care measures that can help.
In the US, the total number of people with PoTS is estimated to be between 1 to 3 million.
What causes PoTS and who can develop the syndrome?
The cause of the disorder is unknown. Anyone at any age can develop POTS, but it mainly affects women between the ages of 15 to 50 years of age. Some women report an increase in episodes of POTS right before their menstrual periods.
POTS often begins after a pregnancy, major surgery, trauma, or a viral illness. It may make individuals unable to exercise because the activity brings on fainting spells or dizziness.
What are the symptoms of PoTS?
Symptoms can include (but are not limited to) dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, forgetfulness and trouble focusing, fatigue, intolerance of exercise, headache, blurry vision, heart palpitations or racing heart, excessive sweating, chest pain, tremor and nausea.
How is it diagnosed?
A range of tests such as heart scans and blood tests are required to rule out a number of other potential conditions.
One of the tests to diagnose PoTS is the tilt table test. This test involves lying down in a specially designed table that gradually tilts until the person is in an upright position while medics measure their heart rate.
PoTS is diagnosed if the heart rate increases by 30 beats per minute above the normal resting level for that person for over 30 seconds alongside symptoms like dizziness or fainting.
How is PoTS treated?
Treatment is targeted at relieving low blood volume or regulating circulatory problems that may cause the disorder.
Simple interventions such as adding extra salt to the diet and attention to adequate fluid intake are often effective. Drugs to increase blood volume and narrow blood vessels are also commonly used.
Drinking 16 ounces of water (two glasses) before getting up can also help raise blood pressure.
Symptoms improved due to aerobic exercise like swimming, rowing or cycling in line with cardiac rehab programmes.
PoTS may follow a relapsing-remitting course, in which symptoms come and go, for years. In most cases, an individual with PoTS improves to some degree and becomes functional, although some residual symptoms are common.
Sources: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Incredible hero dog saves Georgia woman Katie Graham, 24, with rare condition getting her pills and water from the fridge