High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a very common problem in the United States that leads to serious health problems if left untreated. One form of hypertension is white coat syndrome where the patient's blood pressure rises above normal only when he's at the doctor's office due to stress and fear from visiting medical professionals and medical facilities. White coat syndrome is not confined to the doctor. It can happen at the dentist's office as well, which is a problem if lidocaine is being injected, since it will raise blood pressure to dangerous levels in a person with hypertension.
Although it is possible that white coat syndrome is hypertension that's strictly confined to the doctor's office, it's not always the case. Going to the doctor is stressful, but so is working at a job or going to school. In other words, hypertension may not be confined to the doctor's office. It's important to get blood pressure readings throughout the day to make sure high blood pressure readings don't occur outside of the doctor's office.
Steps to Get Rid of White Coat Syndrome
At least a day before the doctor's visit, make sure there is regular daily exercise. Exercise can lower blood pressure by a fair amount. However, refrain from exercise within 24 hours of the visit to the doctor.
After that, begin taking a over-the-counter diuretic, also commonly known as a water pill the night before. Water pills helps the body get rid of excess salt and water through urine. At the same time, decrease the amount of water consumed temporarily. Getting rid of the extra salt and water helps the heart pump blood a
Keep in mind that actual prescription blood pressure medicines, especially those that contain the combination of a diuretic and ACE inhibitor work much better than a water pill alone. It may be worth admitting to the doctor that there is full blown high blood pressure in order to get the prescription blood pressure medicine which will effectively treat white coat hypertension as well as regular high blood pressure.
Make sure there is no caffeine consumption the night before. Get plenty of sleep as well. Getting less than six hours of sleep is a sure way to raise blood pressure.
On the way to the doctor's office, listen to pleasant music. Breathe deeply and slowly while listening to the music. Think of pleasant and relaxing thoughts. After arriving at the doctor's office, walk from the car at a leisurely pace. Any excess physical exertion will greatly increase blood pressure. The name of the game is to arrive as relaxed as possible.
When the blood pressure cuff is placed on the arm, it's time to breathe slowly, close the eyes, and relax as much as possible. With any luck, the blood pressure reading will be normal.
Discussing White Coat Syndrome with the Doctor
Regardless of the blood pressure reading, it's important to disclose to the doctor about the white coat hypertension. It's a very common condition. It's important to tell the doctor because in some cases, it may actually be full-blown hypertension, which needs to be treated or else it could cause serious health problems such as stroke or even death.