Does anyone have a cure for white coat syndrome ?

Discussions in anxiety, panic attacks, phobias and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Practical help for anxiety disorders.

Postby Redcolin » Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:29 pm

Hello ,
I am suffering from panic attacks (high anxiety levels), just before I
get my blood pressure read at a routine medical in work.
I am not sure if this called the white coat syndrome.
I bought a blood pressure monitor at home and my readings are O.K.
I seem to be stuck in a viscious cycle, always reading my blood pressure.
As soon as I have to see the nurse at the medical department , I clam up
and get all anxious, and my readings are high.
She suggested I will have to see my doctor for high blood pressure.
I feel like I need to visit the doctor though to checkup on my blood pressure, as it may not be anxiety related, but an actual problem masked by my thinking that it's anxiety based. Of course, this may also be my anxiety thinking that it's an actual problem, and not actually anxiety based.
I am not sure I have high blood pressure , but suffer from some form of
panic disorder , that I cannot seem to control.
I seem to be stuck in a visious circle , with all this worrying.

Can anyone help me , break this cycle ?

Thanks Redcolin
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Postby NannyBear » Sun Apr 01, 2007 12:45 pm

When I worked for Cardiologists this was not an uncommon thing and we could eventually identify people who needed that extra few minutes to calm down before we took their blood pressure. If we caught them as they first entered the exam room...boom, their blood pressure was sky high. Yes, it can happen. When you are in the supper market go over to the RX dept. to self chk your BP in one of those booths (if ones available) to varify the levels you are getting at home to be sure. Hope this helps!
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Postby Redcolin » Sun Apr 01, 2007 4:56 pm

Thanks for the advice,
I will try this.
It seems to go up when other people do the reading.
It reads O.K. , when I do it myself.

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Postby alistinker » Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:58 pm

This is just what happens to me although now i am on a low dose beta blocker to help with my anxiety. My dr is so great and knows what i am like. It was proven because they always used to do a reading at the beginning of the appointment and then at the end and it was always high to start and perfect at the end. Another story is that i had a stress test at a cardiology for an arrythmia that i get (caused by anxiet also) anyway i was so worked up about going i had an actual anxiety attack on the treadmill and I was convinced that they would stop the test and call in the emergency team :D But they all said that all the tests were fine....just anxiety related. I am better now going to the dr's ...i always start the conversation by saying "my bp will be high, it always is at the start" and they are so sympathetic and say they will do it twice just to get a good reading. My bp at home is also perfect. One other way a dr might tell how overall your bp is doing is getting you to wear a bp machine for 24 hours and you carry on with your daily activities as normal and it records you bp.

You are not alone in this......take care

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Postby Redcolin » Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:38 pm

Thanks for the advice.
It is re-assuring to know , that I am not alone with this problem.
I wander how many people out there have similar difficulties with white coat syndrome ?
P.S What were your readings at the start (when you first saw your doctor)
and your readings just before you leave. (at the end)

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Postby mrfoxy60 » Mon May 18, 2009 3:09 am

I have this fear of anyone taking my BP at a DR's office..for about 10 years now. At home i'm usually fine (normal) unless i'm worried about going to an appointment the next day.

I'm not sure you can do anything about it. I just seem to "worry" about it being high and that automatically causes it to spike. Whoever is taking it doesnt know you or whether you have been "abusing" yourself with booze drugs or overeating, etc.. or they figure you aint taking your meds.

I dont like re-takes at the DR's office, but usually it comes down some when they do it.

The only problem i see with this fear is that it can mask times when you may in fact have elevated pressure. Basically it screws you up, for if your BP is high from whatever, flu, virus, etc., then add to that the White-Coat fear factor on top of that, and your BP readings can be quite high and that sets off alarms with the nurses and PA's.
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Postby tobee » Thu May 21, 2009 11:25 am

Hi ! I had a reading of high blood pressure at the nurse's office. She told me to come back in a couple of weeks when i was calm but I never did; too scared. I then developed panic disorder (linked? don't know) finally going to my GP about the panic she said here are some tests to get booked and a therapist to see. But the only physical thing she was concerned about was my BP. Finally, after putting it off for a few months, I got the 24hr monitor and was anxious the whole time. The results came back as severe hypertension (not too surprising). My GP said I had to do a battery of tests at the local hospital and start meds straight away. This really set back my self help therapy to cure my anxiety and felt omg there really is something wrong with me. All the panic came back. Group CBT started in the middle of these tests which seemed to go on forever. Every time I went to see doctors for the BP tests I was petrified. I felt a big baby but told all the medical people how I felt and they were incredibly sympathetic. Yesterday I had an echocardiogram (terrifying) but it seems to be normal.

The long and short of it is high blood pressure is a worrying thing and it could be white coat related. However, my meds are controlling it at present
I now know loads of things about my health rather than worrying about it. I'd rather not be on meds for life but I have few side effects and in the end running away from my health fears hasn't made them go away. I feel more in control of my anxiety at the moment.
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Postby barsh » Sat May 23, 2009 4:19 am

Hi, I know what this feels like. One time (of many) I went to the doc's and was very anxious and had a BP of 209/92 during a near panic attack and HR of 160 at the time. So whenever, thereafter, I had to get BP taken, I freaked out in fear that it would be that high again. Sure enough, my BP readings were very high, for example 169/116 etc. So even while at home, i would have panic doing it because I was still scared. So one day my husband said, "Why don't you stop taking your BP?" It was like a lightbulb went on. Sure enough I stopped and relaxed about it and TRIED not to think about it. I work at a hospital, so everytime I passed a BP machine, I would even start to panic. Long story short, I have very fast heartrates, and one day (of many) I ended up the ER. There they put me on a blood pressure med to control my Heartrate and it ended up calming me down, in addition to other meds for anxiety. So now it's only mildly high at the doc's as long as I don't panic, but I still get anxious--even days before the appointment sometimes. I feel better once I get one or more good readings at the doc's. Then my fear of it gets to be less. Hope this helps.
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Postby barsh » Sat May 23, 2009 4:21 am

Oh, I forgot to say that my doctor told me to start taking Ativan before I came to my appointments. I did, but sometimes it doesn't even help.
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