White Coat Syndrome is not a disease and it is not even a disorder. Mostly the term "White Coat Syndrome" is a phrase, but it is also a fear. The Phraze "White Coat Syndrom" means that you are very nervous at the doctor's office. Most of us have at least a small bit of anxiety about visiting our doctor, however if this fear is higher than normal and you do not have a hanlde on it, it can end up costing you a whole lot of money and a whole lot frustration down the line.
What exactly is "White Coat Syndrome". Simply White Coat Syndrom happens to some people when they go to the doctor. It is a fear of being at the doctor's office that causes your blood pressure to go up when you are there. This can happen to a person who has perfectly normal blood pressure. However when they take your blood pressure at the doctor's office it is very high. Some people may even be upset because they always weigh you right before they take your blood pressure. If you have not weighed yourself in a while and the scale reveals a much higher number than you were expecting that can also get you very upset and cause your blood pressure to go up.
So how can being nervous at the doctor end up costing you un-necessary money? Simply because many doctors just look at the numbers. They see your blood pressure is high so all of the sudden they think you have high blood pressure, The next thing you know they are putting you on medication for high blood pressure. Add to that that you now are marked as having high blood pressure on your medical record. Now you end up spending money on medication you probably don't even need and you will also be charged higher rates for both health insurance and life insurance; that is if you can even get insurance at all because it is thought that you have high blood pressure some insurance companies will turn you down. That would certainly be a shame for all of this to happen when reallyall that was wrong with you was a case of nerves. I even know someone who lost their job because of this because the job was one where you had to be in perfect health to safely perform the duties. After several more trips to the doctor it was determined his blood pressure was just fine, he had just been stressed out and worried when he went to the doctor causing a temporary rise in his blood pressure.
So What Do You Do?
So how do you go about making sure that you don't get treated as if you have high blood pressure when your blood pressure reading at the doctor's office is too high? If you feel that your heart is healthy and you never really have problems. If you can walk long distances or go up stairs without your heart pounding like mad chances are your blood pressure is probably good. If however you don't like going to the doctor there could be a good chance you have "White Coat Syndrome."
The first thing you need to do is make your doctor Doctor aware of the fact that you feel nervous. Tell the nurse when he/she is taking the blood pressure that you are nervous. When the doctor comes in and talks about your blood pressure be sure to let or him or her know that you were or are nervous. Then insist at the end of your visit when you have likely calmed down a bit that they take your blood pressure again. Try to relax during your visit with your doctor so that your blood pressure is able to come down. Pretend they are a good friend you are happy to see. Some people may not calm down until they are in their car on their way home.
Another thing that is wise to do is to get your own blood pressure machine to use at home. These will run; you anywhere from $40 to $120.00. They are extremely easy to use and you can take your blood pressure in the comfort of your own home. Then a couple of weeks before you are going to the doctor take your blood pressure daily at different times of the day and keep a log of the readings. Bring your machine with you to the doctor and show him or her your log. The reason I say to bring it with you is because your doctor will likely want to test the accuracy of your machine against their methods.
If your blood pressure is normal or better at home and your doctor still insists you have high blood pressure then you tell them you do not want that to go on record and you will be seeking a second opinion. A good doctor knows that people get nervous when they come to the doctor. Naturally they are concerned when a blood pressure reading comes up high but if you believe that it is only because you are nervous make sure to do further testing on your own before you let your doctor declare you as someone with high blood pressure.
Also some illnesses can cause your blood pressure to go up a bit, that is why knowing what it is normally your average is very helpful. Most doctors will take illness in consideration and will take that in to consideration if your blood pressue is a little elevated.
Remember to take long calming breaths breathing in deeply and slowly through the nose and exhaling out of your mouth for the same duration of time. Try not to have quick and shallow breaths this will only make things worse.
It's Not Always White Coat Syndrome
I would be irresponsible if I didn't say that it may not just be White Coat Syndrome. If you have symptoms of high blood pressure or are more than a little over weight then it is likely that your blood pressure is high and you should be treated. It is very important to keep track of your blood pressure more than just the times that you go to the doctor. If you only go to the doctor once a year when you are sick then you should monitor your blood pressure yourself. If you don't want to buy a machine of your own then when ever you visit stores that have those machines be sure to take a minute to test your blood pressure, also take advantage of free blood pressure screenings at health fairs and at local pharmacies. Do this often.
Keeping track of you own blood pressure is a wise and healthy thing to do. Knowing where your blood pressure is at can help you to make better and healthier decisions about your life style. It can also give you a good case against a doctor who views your nervousness as high blood pressure.