What is "white-coat" hypertension?
If your home blood-pressure measurements are consistently lower than blood-pressure measured at your doctor's office, you might suffer from a common condition called "white-coat" hypertension.
So what is your real blood-pressure?
Both measurements are true. Physiologically, "white-coat" hypertension means that your body is probably more reactive to stressful events. This means that you probably have elevated blood-pressure many times during the day that you may not be aware of.
Should I be concerned about "white-coat" hypertension?
"White-Coat" hypertension is not as dangerous as sustained hypertension (hypertension which is present all the time). However, individuals who have "white-coat" hypertension may have a higher risk of complications and cardiovascular disease than those with completely normal blood-pressure all the time. Another risk of "white-coat" hypertension is that individuals with this condition may develop sustained hypertension at a later time.
So what can be done about it?
Learn how to deal with daily stress. More on this in tomorrow's tip. Daily home blood-pressure monitoring has been shown to somewhat reduce "white-coat" hypertension, although it's not clear if it reduces the long term risk of high reactivity to stress.
RESPeRATE has been proven to virtually eliminate "white-coat" hypertension. Dr. William Elliot presented these findings at the 2005 American Society of Hypertension annual meeting. To learn more about these findings Click Here.
Ask Dr. Rowena
Do you have medical questions? Dr. Rowena Sobczyk is available to answer your questions about blood-pressure and hypertension. You can also browse the archive of answers. Click Here