How Can I Tell If I Have White Coat Hypertension?

The Short Answer from a family medicine physician

How Can I Tell If I Have White Coat Hypertension?

Q: How can I tell if I have white coat hypertension?

A: “White coat hypertension” occurs when your blood pressure measurements are higher at the doctor’s office than at any other time. Anxiety about seeing the doctor may be a factor.

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While many believe white coat hypertension is common, it’s actually quite rare. The only outward sign of anxiety is the abnormal blood pressure reading at a doctor’s visit.

Most patients whose blood pressure rises in the doctor’s office experience higher blood pressure under all forms of stress.

To accurately measure your blood pressure, any abnormal readings at the doctor’s should be followed up with blood pressure monitoring at home and work.

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To confirm white coat hypertension, the blood pressure cuff you use at home must be compared to the cuff your doctor uses. Readings should also be done during times of real-life stress, such as when you’re under deadline at work, or feeling angry or upset.

— Family medicine physician David Brill, DO 

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