Do You Have High Blood Pressure? Or, Do You REALLY Have....
“White Coat Hypertension”?
As many as twenty percent of Americans ‘suffer’ from white coat hypertension. More commonly known as white coat syndrome, patients exhibit a blood pressure level above the normal range in a clinical setting, though they don't exhibit it in other settings. It is believed that the phenomenon is due to anxiety experienced during a clinic visit.
"Doctor's offices and hospitals are places where bad things happen, so it's not surprising that people avoid them." Nathan Consedine, PhD
"Fear is a response selected in evolution to promote immediate avoidance of a very salient physical threat”. A person with white coat syndrome may not feel anxious even as her body, "at a low level, is ready to run away." says Nathan Consedine, PhD, a health psychology researcher at Long Island University.
Many believe that patients with "white coat" hypertension do not require even very small doses of antihypertensive therapy as it may result in hypotension [low blood pressure- resulting in dizziness or fainting], but must still be careful as patients may show signs of vascular changes and may eventually develop hypertension.
The research: Researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School analyzed blood pressure readings—taken by both a doctor and a nurse of the same patient on the same day—from more than 1,000 individuals across the world. The readings made by doctors were significantly higher (a whole 7/4 mmHg higher) than those made by nurses.
“This is a subconscious or reflex effect—sometimes dubbed the ‘alerting response’—caused by the taking of blood pressure,” says study author Christopher Clark. Your fight-or-flight response kicks in when the doctor tightens that cuff around your arm, which likely causes your blood-pressure reading to be higher than normal. And there’s actually a name for this phenomenon by which your blood pressure rises when measured by a doc rather than a nurse—the white coat effect. Several other studies have shown its most pronounced in older females, particularly when they’re examined by a male doctor. And it occurs in a whopping 75% of patients with hypertension.
What it means: A lot, actually.
The difference was high enough to tip some patients over the high-blood pressure threshold, subjecting them to potentially inappropriate treatment.
It makes sense, in this instance, before taking any prescription medicines for elevated or high blood pressure- have your blood pressure checked in numerous settings by numerous different people. Prescription drugs always add a toxic burden to a person’s liver and kidneys. There is no sense in taking any drugs if you don’t really need them.
“Doctors and drugs do not heal the body. Our bodies have an enormous capacity for self-healing. Each one of the 65 trillion cells that comprise our bodies have specific functions well known to itself, an extraordinary ability to rejuvenate, and specific nutritional requirements which are unalterable. Compliance with those needs, in providing optimum nourishment daily, yields vitality.” Maile Pouls, Ph.D.
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