White coat syndrome has nothing to do with being dragged of to the funny farm by people in white coats. Nope, it’s a term given to someone whose blood pressure rises every time they get near a hospital or doctor’s surgery.
When I was first diagnosed with having HBP all those years back my doctor put me on a 24-hour monitor twice once in 1999 and 2004 to make sure I wasn’t suffering from white coat hypertension.
The reason he did this was because of my jitteriness whenever I had to see him. He ruled it out, but kept an eye on my blood pressure.
At that time he didn’t put me on medication, as my blood pressure readings were borderline, plus I was exercising by riding my bike doing martial arts he didn’t think I needed it.
On medication since December 2010
I’ve only been on medication since December 2010 as I’ve been under a lot of stress brought on by redundancy in 2009, to add to matters I’m a lot older now. (About )
White coat HBP shows up in as much as 20% of patients, and it can be confusing. It is believed that this is a nervous problem. A visit to the doctor’s inspires fear that something terrible might be found out, medically.
This fear causes BP to rise, but it’s only going up temporarily to an abnormal level because you’re having a nervous reaction. Once this ingrained fear when seeing a doctor sets in there’s no way your BP is coming down.
But when you’re home and relaxed, you take your blood pressure with a home monitor, of course the readings show up lower. This can make it hard for your doctor to get an accurate reading of your true pressure even if they have the best stethoscope.
Here are some basic facts that you need to know about this condition so that you can figure out if you suffer from it or not:
- If you keep going to your doctor regularly and keep getting a higher-than-home reading after your first few visits, you have the problem. You have been conditioned from your first visits to become upset about the visit.
- It’s believed that the fact that your blood pressure temporarily goes up does not put you at super high risk for heart disease. But, the syndrome probably does put you at higher risk for developing heart disease than you would have without the fear of seeing your doctor.
- Doctors know how to make accurate mental corrections for the syndrome. They will consider your home monitor the correct or closely correct reading.
- If you don’t think your doctor has a good “bedside manner” you should change doctors. A more personable doctor could relax you and help reverse your conditioning, which will be better for your health and treatment.
- Taking medicine for relaxation before visiting the doctor could interfere with your BP Medication or have negative side effects. Instead, you should find non-medical ways of relaxing more. Meditation or listening to relaxing music might help.