Young male doctor is checking patient's blood pressure in medical room.Healthcare and medicine concept. Young male doctor with clipboard and patient in hospital.Assistant doctor with a syringe. Against the background of the doctor sits at the table.

White coat Hypertension is also referred to as White Coat Syndrome. For some, visiting the doctor’s room or a medical setting may be an inherently anxiety-ridden and nervous experience.  Their blood pressure readings are found to be higher than normal or than taken at home.  About 15 to 30 percentage of people who visit the medical room have white coat hypertension.  In most cases, such patients are noted to have higher systolic blood pressure readings in the medical room, the diastolic blood pressure readings are less commonly affected. Since this false rise in blood pressure has been noted mostly in the doctor’s room is often referred to as ‘White Coat Hypertension’.

Symptoms of White Coat Hypertension:

  • Uneasiness and irritability
  • Over excitement due to anger and fear
  • Fast Heart rate
  • Shortness of breadth
  • Excessive sweating

Causes of White Coat Hypertension:

  • Stress
  • Nervousness
  • Fear of the doctor
  • Eating food that is high in sodium and consuming lots of caffeine may increase temporarily the temperature.
  • Age is another factor which cause this type of hypertension, which occurs more frequently in older people.

Complications of White Coat Hypertension:

Studies have shown that people having white coat hypertension are at a risk of developing true hypertension, unless the problem is controlled in time. It is also associated with higher chances of diabetes, higher lipid levels, as well as cardiovascular risk such as heart attack, stroke or even organ damage. Having white coat hypertension in pregnancy may advance into gestational hypertension.

However, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that white coat hypertension carried a risk for cardiovascular disease only among older people (over 60 years) who already were at high risk due to factors like diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity or a history of cardiovascular disease.

Managing White Coat Hypertension: –

It is very important to consider the consequences of patient anxiety and white coat hypertension. White coat hypertension is associated with mild as well as severe physical health outcomes and an increased risk of developing sustained hypertension. Communication between doctor and patient is considered a corner-stone in medical care. Effective communication and relationship building can reduce the patient’s anxiety about their illness and about their interaction with a doctor.

White coat Hypertension may predispose one to develop true hypertension in later years of life; adequate measures must be made to prevent hypertension and lead a healthier lifestyle.