Do you Know About White Coat Hypertension?
A prevalent ailment among the urban population, hypertension is mainly categorised into two types: primary hypertension and secondary hypertension. However, there are some rare types of hypertension which exist in a minor percentage of the population. These different types of high blood pressure include malignant hypertension, resistant hypertension, and isolated systolic hypertension among others. One of these is white coat hypertension. What does this type of hypertension really entail? Let’s find out.
White coat hypertension is when the blood pressure at the doctor’s clinic rises slightly as opposed to the blood pressure measured at home. It is also known as white coat syndrome or the white coat effect. This type of hypertension gets its name because of the doctors or nurses who usually wear white coats at the hospital or the clinic. As you know, a normal blood pressure reading is around 120/80 mmHg and anything above the normal value is considered as hypertension or high blood pressure.
When it comes to the white coat syndrome, it could also mean that you usually have normal blood pressure but the values slightly increase at the doctor’s office. It is however not always related to doctor-associated anxiety; it can also be a more serious problem than projected. On the contrary, there is another type of hypertension called masked hypertension which is the complete opposite of white coat hypertension. In this case, the blood pressure reading is normal at the doctor’s clinic and rises slightly in other medical settings and even at home.
Today, we’ll learn about white coat hypertension, its causes and treatment.
Causes Of White Coat Hypertension
Experience anxiety at the doctor’s clinic or at the hospital is not uncommon, especially if you’re in discomfort or agony. However, this anxiety can cause a spike in your blood pressure readings.
Although white coat hypertension only causes a temporary increase in your blood pressure, it can be the path to a serious type of hypertension. There have been a few studies conducted out of which one study found white coat hypertension to cause an increased risk of stroke, heart failure, heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems among people with this type of hypertension. The other study found death from heart disease to be strongly associated with white coat hypertension.
These studies alone show the importance of a proper diagnosis to determine if the elevated blood pressure reading is a cause for worry or not. Other causes can include other stressors such as work, emergencies, high sodium diet, increased caffeine intake, and even skipping high BP medications.
Now that you’re aware of the causes of white coat hypertension, it is essential for you to understand the most effective ways to overcome it.
Overcoming White Coat Hypertension
Sometimes knowing that your blood pressure values may increase at the doctor’s clinic is what causes anxiety and spikes your blood pressure. Therefore, before you get your blood pressure measured, keep these few tips in mind.
- Deep Breathe And RelaxAnxiety can cause your heart to beat faster than it usually does. So, when you’re at the clinic, sit down in a relaxed position and ask your doctor or the nurse to wait before measuring your blood pressure.
- Sit In A Quiet Corner At The ClinicOvercrowding and a lot of movement around you can be distracting so move to a quiet corner before you get your blood pressure measured to get a more accurate value.
- Practice Relaxation TechniquesIf you are generally an anxious person, find a technique which helps you calm down like deep breathing or meditation. Try the technique right before your blood pressure measurement.
For some people, talking while taking the test works in bringing their blood pressure down and for others, sitting quietly does. So, depending on what works for you, take the test.
All types of hypertension have different causes. A proper diagnosis and understanding of the type of hypertension helps in the right treatment. Remember, the treatment for every type of hypertension differs. So, always keep your doctor up-to-date with your condition and consult them immediately if you notice unusual hypertension effects.
Note of caution: This article is for information purpose only. Always consult your doctor in case of any blood pressure or other health-related problems.