White Coat Syndrome: Is it Real?

Is White Coat Syndrome real? Yes! Let’s set the scene: You are at your appointment and the Medical Assistant calls you back. They take your vitals and your blood pressure comes back high. The first thought you may have is “Oh no! My readings at home are normally lower than this. Do I have high blood pressure now?” Not necessarily. This is a prime example of what White Coat Syndrome looks like! Let’s investigate this reading and what it may mean. 

White Coat Syndrome is used to describe when a patient has elevated blood pressure when in a medical setting, like a doctor’s office or hospital. One high blood pressure reading does not mean that a patient has hypertension. Additionally, there are other factors that can affect your blood pressure at an appointment like stress, anxiety, traffic, paying a bill upon arrival, missing work for the appointment, and more. It is important to note that these temporary spikes in blood pressure could lead to hypertension or other cardiovascular issues down the road. 

At Jacksonville Nephrology, Dr. Munjal does not make decisions based on a single reading. He looks for trends in blood pressure readings and will make changes based on the patient’s normal range. If we were to make medical decisions and changes based on a single reading, the patient may end up taking too much medication and have a number of side effects, leaving them feeling ill or even hospitalized. By looking at trends over time, Dr. Munjal is able to make more informed decisions. 

Dr. Munjal encourages his patients to take their blood pressure regularly at home 1-2 hours after medications have been taken when calm, relaxed, and comfortable. This practice gives the most accurate results and lets us see how well your medications are working. 

Munjal’s Musings:

“Most people have White Coat Syndrome and it looks different for everyone. It is most important to be aware of it. Take your readings at home regularly so you know your normal range.”

If you see a high reading at your next doctor’s appointment, take a deep breath and remember that it’s okay. Remind yourself of your normal range and discuss it with your doctor. If you have concerns about your blood pressure, call to make an appointment with Dr. Munjal today! As always, stay safe and healthy!

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