If you suffer from high blood pressure when visiting the doctor, you may be experiencing white coat hypertension. This condition, also known as “white coat syndrome,” can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure when visiting a healthcare professional due to anxiety and stress. However, with the right tips to beat white coat hypertension, you can learn to manage your anxiety and blood pressure. In this blog post, we will discuss six tips to help you beat white coat hypertension.
What Is White Coat Hypertension?
White coat hypertension, also known as white coat syndrome, is a phenomenon where a person’s blood pressure readings are consistently high in a medical setting, but are normal outside of that setting. It occurs due to anxiety and stress associated with being in a medical environment or around medical professionals, hence the term “white coat” referring to the white coats that doctors wear. White coat hypertension affects about 15-30% of patients diagnosed with hypertension and can be problematic for those who are misdiagnosed with high blood pressure, leading to unnecessary medication and lifestyle changes (1). The good news is that there are ways to manage and even beat white coat hypertension.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss 6 tips that can help you overcome the stress and anxiety associated with visiting a doctor’s office and obtain more accurate blood pressure readings.
Tip #1: Learn To Regulate Your Nervous System
When seated at the doctor’s office, you can manage stress levels by inhaling and exhaling slowly. Doing this will activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and slow the heartbeat while lowering the blood pressure.
Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose for a few seconds. Exhale slowly and calmly through your mouth. Keep doing this for a few minutes, paying attention to how the breath enters and exits your body. Visualize a peaceful environment like a beach and feel the waves hitting your feet, and the breeze caressing your face. This can be done anytime and anywhere to manage anxiety and lower blood pressure. With regular practice, you can learn to naturally lower your blood pressure, regulate your nervous system, and feel more relaxed (2).
Tip #2: Practice Meditation Or Mindfulness
Combatting white coat hypertension may require more than standard techniques. Practicing meditation and mindfulness can assist in reducing stress levels and in turn, lower your blood pressure. There are many different methods, so choose one that resonates with you and practice it regularly. A good starting point is to find a peaceful place and focus on your breathing; acknowledging and then letting go of intrusive thoughts. Additionally, try to become aware of physical sensations and your surroundings without judging or reacting. This will help you to stay present even in challenging situations like doctor visits. No single method is right or wrong; consistency and self-connection are the keys to success. Mindfulness and meditation are both ongoing practices that can take some time to perfect, but that is part of the journey. With time, white coat hypertension should become easier to manage and you should find yourself more relaxed and confident.
Tip #3: Try A Calming Supplement
If meditation and breathing techniques are not your thing, you may want to give a supplement like Ashwagandha a try. Ashwagandha is what is known as an apoptogenic herb, which means it helps the body to cope with stress (4). Taking Ashwagandha regularly can help reduce overall stress and anxiety, as well as help your body deal with stressful situations, like going to the doctor. Approved Science® Ashwagandha also includes ginger to provide additional health benefits for the body and mind.
Tip #4: Bring A Friend Or Family Member With You
A support system is often the most effective way to combat white coat hypertension. Bring a buddy or a loved one with you on your visit and you’ll distract yourself from any anxiousness. This companion will help keep you composed and remind you to focus on your breathing. Speaking to them can provide relief as well.
Not only does your companion bring you relief, they’ll also bolster your courage. Being accompanied by someone you trust can drastically alter the whole experience. Talking to them before the visit can give you the extra confidence you need to remain tranquil during the appointment.
Tip #5: Find A Doctor That You Trust
If you experience heightened blood pressure and stress levels each time you visit the doctor’s office, it may be a sign that you need to switch physicians. Establishing a good rapport with your doctor is essential, and if you’re not comfortable with your current provider, consider searching for another. When you find a medical professional you feel at ease with, they can work with you to help relieve your apprehensions about physician appointments.
Tip #6: Understand The Science
If the thought of dealing with elevated blood pressure intensifies your stress prior to visiting the doctor, it might be beneficial to do some of your own research. Learning about blood pressure can help to understand what is happening in your body when your blood pressure increases or decreases, as well as the situations which can cause these fluctuations. Your situation may not require prescription medication but it may benefit from a dietary supplement to lower blood pressure. We recognize that embarking on an online quest to find this information can be quite overwhelming, which is why we have written an article that breaks down exactly how blood pressure supplements work.
White coat hypertension is not a permanent diagnosis and can be effectively managed by discovering the techniques that work best for you. If you have concerns about your blood pressure or suspect you may be experiencing white coat hypertension, seeking guidance from a qualified healthcare professional who is familiar with your medical history is essential. Together, you can explore strategies to address this condition and find the most suitable approach for your individual needs.