For many years I use to joke about a “white coat syndrome“. My blood pressure would skyrocket any time I went to dentist, DO, chiropractor, etc. little did I know that it was a true syndrome. Several years ago I had to do a follow up appointment after a short hospital visit and the doctor, after I left the office, called in a prescription unbeknownst to me. I got a phone call stating my prescription is ready. I called the pharmacy and ask them for what. They told me for high blood pressure. First of all being on that kind of medication causes all sorts of problems for my career. Second of all I never authorized it. Every two years I have to get a physical done for my CDL. I have passed all but I also tell them/remind them that I have white coat syndrome. To this day I’m still not on meds but I do carry a blood pressure monitor with me. When I go to these medical places and they mention my blood pressure is high and that I don’t look like I am at all anxious, I also tell them that not everybody “shows” anxiety. Maybe if I would show it, my blood pressure would be lower.
A natural remedy is Valerian Root. It could make you sleepy so use with caution. Some dentist may prescribe a onetime, low dose of diazepam (Valium) to take right before your appointment.
If your pressure is elevated when you visit your physician, be sure to take it (yourself) often prior to your appointment. Its important to establish that you are not--in fact--hypertensive. 'White Coat Syndrome' does present during medical/dental visits but remember that is stress induced. Therefore it is often diagnosed wrongly. If you are experiencing frequent stress at home, work or in relationships, your blood pressure may be elevated enough throughout the day that it is an issue.
Blood Pressure can be personally checked by purchasing a home monitor or utilizing the machines located at big box pharmacies. Points to remember:
- Check your pressure consistently at the same time of day on the same machine.
- Rest for 10-15 minutes prior to checking. Do not check immediately before or after eating.
- Record your blood pressure and pulse rate. Note the date and time.
- Check at least six weeks before your next doctors appointment. Be sure to provide a copy of your blood pressure log to your healthcare staff.
High blood pressure is the number one cause of kidney failure and a leading cause of cardiovascular events like strokes and aneurysms. It is deemed the silent killer due to undetected symptoms.
I had the same primary care physician for 26 years, and she only had morning appointments. My BP was always very high. First thing she would ask is "What did you have to drink this morning?" I would only drink water, even though I would see people walking around with coffee cups.
My new Primary Care saw me in the afternoon, and my pressusre was below 120/80. She wears a white coat; my longtime doctor did not. Maybe it is the time of day.