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09/27/2011 11:57 PM

Why aren't doctors aware of white coat syndrome?

Posts: 61

Either I am picking the wrong doctors or the schools that these doctors went too aren't properly training their students to become the future healers of today.

I remember sometime ago when I mention to my doctors that I have white coat syndrome, they looked at me with a puzzled look to their faces, like if I was crazy or something. They didn't respond back to me but their facial impression gave me clues that they have no idea what it means.

My blood pressure has to be taken a few times because I get high readings, and when they do It starts off a panic attack reaction. My heart rate starts racing. My doctor even told me that I have high blood pressure but in fact I don't. At time it's generally in 110s while I am relaxing in my house.

Does anyone here successfully dealt with white coat syndrome? I am finding myself doing more canceling then I am appearing.


09/28/2011 06:52 AM
Posts: 11898
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

There aware, and it's very real.

Doctors are in a business to make money, the move drugs they push on us, the more kick backs they get from the sales reps and companies.

Rather than try alternative methods first, they write a script. Would be nice if they would listen to what you are saying, who knows how our bodies feel and react better than us.

My Blood pressure spikes, when I go to the Doctors office, and I know it's because I am their in a room of sick people, concerned about germs, labs, test results. Maybe they should take it after I get them so I'm calmer?

09/28/2011 07:06 AM
janicepvPosts: 3381
Senior Member

My doc had me buy a BP machine ($20, cheap-o digital one at the drug store) and take my BP at home for a series of days/weeks. Then brought in my readings and he checked my BP machine against his for accuracy and once that was proven, believed I had white coat hypertension since my BPs at home were always lower than when in the doc's office.

09/28/2011 07:13 AM
Posts: 2606
VIP Member

My blood pressure is always higher at the doctor's office because I'm in that environment. At my mom's when I check it and at Walmart when I check it, it is generally about 110/80 or somewhere in that area. Then at the dr it's 145/90 sometimes. I explain that I have good blood pressure. And recently when I was in the hospital, they would come check it every so many hours and it would vary drastically throughout the day & night.

09/28/2011 07:20 AM
kirk7613Posts: 10
New Member

lol..i know what your talking about,nurses would take my blood pressure and tell me its so high that their machine must be broke!! dont really want to hear that in a dr.visit but come to find out my arms were to big for their machines..haha so i do not let them check me on an auto machine i make them take it with a manual pump system and if it dont fit then i tell them to get a bigger one and yes i do carry my own and my own pulse sock they look at me like im crazy but useing my stuff helps me with the anxiety,i also take a few deep breaths before i let them start and that helps,plus seeing the same doctor over and over will let you get comfortable with the people that work there ,make small talk and get to know them that also helps,i also prefer to call them by there first name and insist they do the same, they work for you you don't work for them,try using a small practition not something so corporate that way your not just some patient your you

hope this helps,kirk

09/28/2011 07:30 AM
Posts: 11898
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

Hey Krik,

Just found this, hope it helps. Wink

How to Get Rid of White Coat Syndrome

Not everyone would admit it, but a visit to the doctor is anything but a happy experience. Oftentimes, you remind yourself that a visit to the doctor is beneficial to you, so you try to push your fears out of your mind. Unfortunately, your blood pressure doesn't lie. When your blood pressure suddenly shoots up when you walk into a clinic or hospital, you're likely experiencing white coat syndrome.

What is White Coat Syndrome?

White coat syndrome, also known as white coat hypertension and white coat effect, occurs when a patient's blood pressure surges only when he's in a medical or clinical environment. The “white coat” refers to the white coat that doctors wear. The condition affects everyone, male or female, young and old.

Hypertension is different from white coat syndrome because hypertension means that the patient has consistently high readings regardless whether he's in a clinical setting or not. A patient with white coat syndrome however, has normal readings outside the clinic but his blood pressure shoots up when he enters a clinical environment.

It's quite difficult to diagnose white coat syndrome because a lot of people aren't even aware that they have it. Some doctors also confuse white coat syndrome with hypertension, resulting in unnecessary or wrong treatment. The patient must have records of his blood pressure readings at home and at a clinical setting, so that the doctor can come up with a proper diagnosis.

What Causes White Coat Syndrome?

Some experts define white coat syndrome as high readings of 140/90 mmHg or above when the patient is in a clinical setting, and normal readings when he's somewhere else. The condition results from the patient's anxiety, as his instincts tell him to either resist or flee from the doctor and the clinic. A lot of people are aware that they're experiencing this kind of anxiety, while others aren't even aware that their blood pressure is already rising. The following factors have been identified by experts as contributing to white coat syndrome:

•Your fear instincts: Evolution equipped humans with fear, so they can quickly avoid situations where they are exposed to physical threat. While hospitals and clinics aren't lion dens, people still perceive them as places where nasty things happen. You get this belief through years of hearing stories of people sick in clinics, or even dying in hospitals. Your mind then associates those places to danger, and your body promptly reacts to it by telling you to resist or flee.

•Intrusive medical procedures: It's not only physical harm that you fear when you go inside the doctor's office when you want a checkup. You're also anticipating that the doctor will touch you, perhaps in a very uncomfortable way. A lot of people are also afraid of being naked in front of their doctors, because this makes them feel vulnerable and not in control of the situation. There are also people who are very worried that their doctors will criticize them for their unhealthy lifestyle or behavior. All of these thoughts and emotions combine to push the blood pressure of some patients through the roof.

•Lack of trust in the health care system: Today's health care is system is vastly different from years past. Doctors are very busy, so it's difficult for a lot of them to build strong, long-term relationships with their patients. The media is also responsible for broadcasting medical errors and other bad news about the state of health care. As a result, many people don't fully trust doctors and hospitals, and some of them even choose not go to hospitals altogether.

•Too much preventive care: As scientists discover more and more diseases and new ways of treating them, the focus of health care has also greatly shifted from cure to prevention. People are encouraged to undergo screenings such as cholesterol checks, mammograms, rectal exams, and many others, which make them more conscious of their health. Many of these tests are done through uncomfortable procedures, and it's also frightening to think that you are in danger of so many diseases. While preventive care is done for the patient's benefit, it does make him overly critical and sometimes anxious of his health.

How to Deal with White Coat Syndrome

The best way to get rid of white coat syndrome is to train yourself to face your fear of medical environments. This process could take a long time, because you have to go against your instincts. The following tips can help you get rid of your fear as soon as possible:

•Admit your fear: The most important thing to do is to admit that there's fear in the first place. Doing something about your fear is easier once you've accepted the reality that you are afraid. Don't push the fear out of your mind because this will not solve the problem. Admit that you're fearful, and then focus your attention on how to get rid of that fear.

•Identify your fears: It's often hard to see what really worries you because fear is diffused. You are anxious, but you don't know what specifically worries you. Try to meditate or think through what goes on in your mind during a visit to the doctor. It will be easier to deal with your anxiety once you identify its exact causes.

•Consider cognitive behavioral therapy: This form of therapy works by teaching the patient coping techniques and reframing his mind. Patients can get rid of their anxiety in just two or three sessions of this therapy.

•Ask for anesthetics and sedatives: Pain is one of the biggest causes of white coat syndrome. Some people just equate going to the doctor with feeling a lot of pain. Give yourself some peace of mind by asking your doctor for anesthetics and sedatives whenever possible. People with needle phobia can benefit greatly from these drugs as they get rid of pain.

•Remind yourself of the benefits of tests: It's easy to forget why you're undergoing intrusive tests when you feel too anxious. Sit back and remind yourself of the benefits of the tests to reduce some of the fear in your mind; for example, rectal exams are important to detect prostate cancer early, while colorectal exams are needed to catch colorectal cancers in their early stages. A lot of men avoid such tests because they feel that they compromise their sexuality. You can reduce that fear of intrusive tests by being rational and reminding yourself that they are all done for your benefit.

•Go to another doctor: Don't go to a doctor who you're not at ease with. Find another one who evokes a more positive reaction from you, so the procedure will be more tolerable.

•Don't go to the doctor alone: Taking someone with you to the clinic or hospital helps to relieve anxiety. That someone should care deeply for you, so you know you're not alone no matter what happens during the procedure. He could be your friend, relative, or spouse; and he should stay with you throughout the entire procedure unless the doctor recommends otherwise.

•Ask your doctor what to expect: Another technique to reduce anxiety is to ask your doctor what to expect during the procedure. Many patients are overly worried about medical procedures because they don't know what will happen to them. Ask your doctor what kind of pain you are going to experience, if any, and how long it will last. Also, inquire about what other sensations you might feel during the procedure, so you don't get surprised or traumatized.

Don't let white coat syndrome rule your life, because it can lead to hypertension, which is even more dangerous. Talk to your doctor immediately if you notice any signs of white coat syndrome so you can begin treatment early. white-coat-syndrome/

09/28/2011 07:40 AM
Posts: 59

I had a very bad experience at the Military Dentist once. The next time I went, boom, high blood pressure. I had it checked every day at the clinic for a week, all readings were normal. Diagnosed with white coat syndrome.

Later in life I had a health issue, they did all kinds of tests and found other issues (glad they found and fixed them). I started fearing going to the doctor because of what else they might find. The white coat syndrome followed me to my regular doctor as well.

I'm very interested in trying out some of PhilPhils suggestions.

09/28/2011 08:09 AM
Posts: 11898
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

Sorry to hear that you had those bad experiences, but you survived them! Wink

All we can do is try to improve our lives and find and try way that will help.


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