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  • Writer's pictureCleveland Kidney and Hypertension Consultants

Do You Really Have High Blood Pressure!? What is White Coat Syndrome?

White Coat Syndrome (WCS), or commonly known as white coat hypertension, is a phenomenon when a person’s blood pressure is high in a medical setting compared to other settings. The exact cause of White Coat Syndrome is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to the anxiety or stress that some people experience when visiting a healthcare provider. It got its name from the white coats medical providers wear! You see the white coat, get nervous, your blood pressure rises temporarily - just long enough to be taken!

WCS can have several effects on patients. It can lead to inaccurate diagnosis and unnecessary treatment. The anxiety and stress some people feel can lead to avoiding medical care, leading to negative consequences to their health. 

Managing WCS involves both patients and healthcare providers working together to reduce anxiety and obtain accurate blood pressure readings. Easy ways to help alleviate WCS are 

  • Have a reliable BP machine at home and take it consecutively

  • Practice relaxation techniques. This could include deep breathing, meditation, or yoga before and after appointments. 

  • Close your eyes and breathe deeply when you’re getting it taken at the office/at Urgent Care/hospital

  • Talk to your healthcare team. Letting them know you are nervous or if your BP reading is off can help them understand your results better 

WCS is a common phenomenon that can affect people of all ages. At CKHC we utilize the latest technology with our unique 24-hour blood pressure monitor. This monitor is worn comfortably at home by our patients, providing continuous readings that help differentiate between WCS and true hypertension. Talk to your primary care provider about a referral to CKHC for a 24-hour BP monitor.  If we determine that you truly have high blood pressure, and it’s hard to control, you can rest assured that you are in good hands with our doctors who are experts in hypertension.  On the other hand, if we determine that you have WCS, or “fake” high blood pressure caused by WCS, then we can put your mind at ease!  

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