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White Coat Syndrome

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the My Blood Pressure Newsletter. If you are interested in having your blood pressure story told, please email Kellie or Steve at support@my-health-software.com.

My Story – Tom Dent

Kellie’s note: Tom’s story is in two parts, the first part Tom wrote last month and the second part is an update he wrote last week.

I first started displaying symptoms of high bp while in the service about 1975-76 around the age of 21. They had me go to a troop dispensary for about a week and would have me lie down on a gurney in a dark room for about 30 minutes. Then my bp seemed to come back into the normal area and consequently they never treated it. Each time I would go to the doctor over the years they would always say “this is high; you may want to do something about it”.

I never could figure that out because the irony of being in a doctor’s office and being told to do something about my blood pressure seemed like it should have been their health issue too. Anyway I finally asked one day if they (the doctors) shouldn’t be doing something about it (the blood pressure), so I was started on bp medicine in 1985.

To be truthful in the beginning I was never physically or mentally aware of my blood pressure being high (hence the term silent killer). Now I get very noticeable physical signs when it is high. My face is flushed, I can be irritable, I feel anxious and hot, headache, slight dizziness.

My BP goes as high as 174/100 when in the doctor’s office even though I take 3 types of BP medication plus aspirin therapy. I’ve kept written records of my BP but since I bought your software it really makes it easier to document and keep a chronological history.

They have tried a lot of bp medicines on me over the years. One of the newer ones that was a combination beta blocker with thiazide (diuretic) sent me to the hospital. The same thing happened again a year later when they changed medicines. I’ve been doing a little reading lately and have discovered there has been some research done in regard to anti-anxiety medicines used to lower blood pressure. That is interesting since a couple times they used that type of medicine on me in the ER when I was having a severely elevated BP and it brought it down.

I’m experiencing the same old problem again lately, they’ve tried a number of different medications on me since 1985 and my body seems to adjust eventually and begins raising the bp as it becomes accustomed to the prescription. The dosages are then increased and eventually another medicine is tried that works for a while.

I’ve noticed since my records have become more precise (your software) that each day I take my bp several issues remain consistent. 1) When I first take the reading the bp systolic is generally in the high range 140’s into low 150’s/ and diastolic high 80’s into low 90’s. 2) If I sit anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour my reading can drop to 120/80 or lower. So it would seem if it takes complete relaxation for me to achieve a normal bp that I would never really have normal bp under normal life circumstances since I can’t get normal readings without isolating myself from all external influences. In other words it doesn’t seem the medicine is effective unless I’m totally sedentary.

I am a type “A” personality (always go, go, go) and I’m sure that has an affect on me. I retired about 4 years ago and you’d think that would help reduce stress (and did to an extent) but I’m highly affected by all outside stimulus. Traffic bothers me, crowds stress me and I obsess and I have a hard time relaxing and letting go of an issue once it’s in my head. I do walk a minimum of 1 mile each day with my dogs and I stay active with physical projects. My wife is very aware of buying items with reduced salt, plus cooking healthy and providing proper dietary intake of specific foods. I’m not completely fanatical about my diet and do eat fast food about once a week and have one glass of red wine almost daily.

Update

Kellie’s note: This is the second part of Tom’s story written just last week.

I discussed some studies with my doctor, involving the use of anti-anxiety meds in conjunction with bp meds — which we tried only for 2 days.

The anti-anxiety meds made me feel better but it wasn’t bringing down my bp. I got a reading of 180/90 in the doctor’s office (before anti-anxiety meds) on 14 Nov. and that was even after I took a mild tranquilizer to deal with white coat syndrome.

Tom's Blood Pressure Chart
Tom’s BP chart: – click to enlarge

After being prescribed the anti-anxiety meds I got up in the morning (couple days later) (before any stress) to take my bp and it was 160/100. The doctor stopped the anti-anxiety meds and started lisinopril with my other 4 bp meds (aspirin included as part of the 4). Now I’m taking 5 meds for bp. My reading today was 115/77 pulse 57.

I usually will take readings for 15 minutes to 1 hour to get good averages. I will only include 1-4 of those readings in my chart when I make an entry. I do this because I don’t believe the first 15 minutes of sitting down (while the bp is usually higher) should be averaged in. Sometimes when I first sit down (even when I’m getting good bp readings) the pressure can still be high for 15-30 minutes before I get good readings. When I say high I simply mean over the normal mark by sometimes 20 points on the systolic and 10 to 15 on the diastolic. They say to wait 15 minutes to get accurate readings and that is never done in a doctor’s office. When I start into the 30 minute to 1 hours range to get a good bp I begin to wonder whether the only way to have a good bp life is to stay in my easy chair!

My wife and I have been reading about secondary and resistant bp problems along with primary. I’ve never had any kidney tests done and I think this should be tried before it is ruled out as a possibility. I did have some adrenal tests done which were negative. My doctor tried to convince me the percentages of people with secondary bp issues are quite slim, but the Mayo clinic lists them as 5-10% percent.

Tom Dent, Washington, United States.

Kellie’s note: Tom has asked that if you have been through a similar experience or have any suggestions, please email him at:

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One Response to “Blood Pressure Story – white coat syndrome”

  1. Reo says:

    Sir,

    I am from malaysia, 26 my age i also same story like you at you young age.many time see doctor but they never put me on any medicine, but at last i do check up they (doctors)diagnose me have a whitecoat hypertension that was 2years ago.finally i buy home monitoring to test my own when every time measure in home the result like this 133/86 heartbeat 80……but at doctor office it will rise to 174/102 heart beat 90.currently i dont know what i should do since doctor never put on medicine i do some researching so at end by recomend to try Coq10 so since started for almost 1year+….since use this supplement i feel many differential with my health…NO symptoms of blood preasure…..but today i just stopped coq10 the previous symtoms of blood preasure its coming back….when i measure at doctors rooms its always over 178/102….please advice me what i should do….I hope your kind feedback sir….Thank you..

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About Kellie

Kellie is 37 years old and together with her brother Steve makes up the My Health Software team.

She helps on the websites and gathering news for the programs. Kellie worked in the medical industry prior to having her two children (8 and 6) and has a strong interest in self awareness and management of health conditions.


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