Could Blood Pressure Phobia Go Beyond the White Coat Effect?
Whitecoat syndrome is a condition under hypertension in which anxiety contributes to a higher blood pressure reading in a medical set-up than a home setting. In other words, when a person sees a doctor wearing a white coat around them while measuring their blood pressure, they tend to get anxious and conscious, and as a result, their levels spike up.
This blood pressure phobia may make the readings higher simply due to doctor-related anxiety or may even be due to an underlying high blood pressure condition. Hence, it is vital to get a thorough diagnosis to rule out the facts and begin the right treatment.
Even though white coat syndrome causes a temporary spike in blood pressure levels, it could also be a forerunner of high blood pressure conditions. Studies have revealed that people with this blood pressure phobia are subject to a higher risk of strokes, heart attack, and other cardiovascular issues.
Causes for white coat syndrome
Various reasons may be the cause of white coat hypertension. Apart from doctor-related anxiety, there may be other reasons, although the two main causes are stress and anxiety.
As the belief goes, white coat hypertension is a precursor to actual hypertension. Hence, stress and anxiety play a pivotal role in causing it, and people inflicted with these are at a higher risk of having problems relating to blood pressure.
However, before arriving at any conclusions, doctors never rely on a single high reading to conclude blood pressure issues in a patient. Instead, they go for multiple readings before prescribing proper medications or precautionary treatment for the same.
Since precautions are better than cure, the best way to overcome white coat syndromeare as follows:
If you have white coat syndrome and your doctor’s office makes you anxious, taking your blood pressure levels to a higher than normal range, it is advisable to follow these simple tips before strapping on the blood pressure cuffs.
- Relax and calm down before you ask your doctor or nurse to take your readings.
- Move out of the crowded places around your doctor’s clinic and request to go to a quieter area where there aren’t many people around.
- Try deep breathing or finding alternative methods to relieve stress before getting your blood pressure checked at the doctor’s chamber.
- Try distracting yourself by indulging in a friendly chat with the doctor or the nurse taking your readings. This would relax your brain and divert your attention from the test, giving you more accurate results.
Remember, white coat syndrome is caused due to psychological more than physiological factors. Training your mind and body with meditation and stress-relief practices can help ease off the problem to quite an extent. Even though a temporary increase in blood pressure levels is not a sign of a big problem, it is nevertheless worth monitoring. Keeping your BP in control is extremely important to lead a happy, healthy and fruitful life.
Your best bet is to consult and speak to your physician right from the beginning. With their help, you can diagnose the problem correctly and find the proper measures to treat it well.
Note of caution: This article is for information purposes only. Always consult your doctor before altering any diet plans, medications or in case of any other blood pressure-related troubles.
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