Have you ever wondered why your blood pressure level is always high when visiting a doctor? Probably you are suffering from white coat hypertension.
White coat hypertension, which may affect up to 30 percent of Americans, according to hyper.ahajournals.org, can increase a person's blood pressure when he or she is at the doctor's place making the readings high compared to those taken at home or other settings.
Weird isn't it? However, the disease, which researchers thought was triggered by the temporary stress of being at the doctor, is actually an indication of much bigger problem.
According to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, people suffering from white coat hypertension have double the chances of dying compared to patients whose blood pressure is normal when taken at the doctor's office and at home.
"White-coat hypertension is not benign. If seeing a white coat increases your blood pressure, a lot of other stressors in life are expected to as well," said Dr. Haitham Ahmed, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic.
On the other hand, researchers from the Autonomous University of Madrid concluded that blood pressure measurements taken at home are a stronger predictor of cardiovascular deaths than those taken at doctor's office after studying 64,000 people over a period of five years.
"We don't want to dismiss white coat hypertension. We encourage our patients to do blood pressure readings at home. That is a good way to not only monitor blood pressure where you actually "live", but it also provides a lot of insight for patients to understand how life's little indiscretions, like take-out Chinese with extra soy sauce, can truly affect your blood pressure the next day," said Dr. Raymond Townsend, director of the hypertension program at Penn Medicine.
According to .healthline.com, there are some simple ways to overcome white-coat hypertension.
Firstly, it advised that the patient should relax. If moving to another place helps you to calm down request the nurses for so.
The website also urges people to find a technique to calm down. For instance, deep and slow breathing can help anxiety. Also, some people can relieve stress by reciting a poem or verse in mind.
Also, changing conversation can help. If you are someone who can be distracted by talking, give it a shot.
Meanwhile, doctors suggest monitoring the blood pressure of white coat hypertension patients throughout the day to determine if the pressure is truly high. It is also advised that the patient should follow up with the doctor three months later, according to NBC News.
"Life is not void of stressors. That's what life is all about. It's better that you control your blood pressure, so that even when those stressors increase, it's not causing damage to your blood vessels," said doctor Ahmed.