Very High BP in front of doctor but normal at home

Posted , 7 users are following.

Hi all. I have a problem. Every time my blood pressure is taken by a doctor or a nurse it is very high (190-90s with heart rate more than 100) and once at home it is average 130-70 with heart rate around 75. I need advices and to share experience. My worry is the very high blood pressure in front of doctors. They tell me even if it is normal at home it should not be so high in those circumstances.

0 likes, 35 replies

35 Replies

  • Posted

    Last time I had mine done at drs I was really anxious and it was 180/90 pulse like you over a 100 but at home with a calibrated machine 118/78 regular, WCS have had it years, they know me now so they don't check it.

    I did have to do a week of testing though to prove it.

    If your machine is OK as in matches the DR's I wouldn't worry, even people with great BP spike when anxious

  • Posted

    Thierry, that's quite common. It's normally known as "white coat syndrome".

    I'd advise taking your BP regularly at home (though not obsessively so) and keeping a chart of it to show your doctor at the next visit. ?Most experts recommend taking three consecutive readings a few minutes apart, then taking an average of the three. If it stays around 130/70, as you say, you have nothing to worry about.

    You could also ask for 24-hour monitoring, where you wear a cuff for a full day while going about your normal business and it records your BP at regular intervals. However, the problem with that one tends to be that people who have white coat syndrome get nervous because they're wearing the cuff and tend to produce the same results!

    If your BP continues to be high when you're in your doctor's office and he/she prescribes medication, then it has to be your decision as to whether or not you want to take it. When my BP went up to a consistent 150/90 when I was in my early 50s my GP prescribed medication. I accepted the prescription without saying anything, but never filled it. I went away and tried lifestyle measures to reduce my BP - I lost about 3kg, increased my exercise levels, and cut down further on salt. As a lifelong non-smoker I didn't need to bother about that, and I also don't have a very sweet tooth (consuming a lot of sugar, including in the form of drinks isn't a good idea).

    When I went back six months later my BP was down to 120/80. Thinking this was because of the medication, she continued to give me prescriptions for the next few years (which I continued to tear up) until she forgot all about it! I never told her I hadn't been taking the tablets and she never asked me.

    Your doctor is your advisor, not your master or your parent. You are not obliged to take their advice if you don't feel comfortable with it. I suspect you may be in a French-speaking country (like me) where it's usually quite easy to consult another doctor - unlike the UK - so that might be an option for you.

  • Posted

    Thierry, they're incorrect in what they're telling you.  As Waffolobill indicates, there is something known as 'White Coat Syndrome' where patients have exactly the same experience as you are having.  Most doctors in that situation will ask you to take your blood pressure twice a day for a week at home.   On the first occasion in the morning take it twice with a 5 minute rest in between, recording the average of the two readings, and repeat in the afternoon.  Once you have your five or 7 days of average daily readings, take them to your doctor.  As Alexandria has indicated, you do need to calibrate your machine though, perhaps by taking it to the surgery with you and checking that both machines give the same reading.  Another way of proving that your BP is normal whilst at home is for your surgery to fit an ambulatory BP monitor which will record your readings over 24 hours.

    • Posted

      Can also not being taken correctly. The correct way is sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Sitting on a exam table with your legs dangling esp for 15 minutes to half hour waiting for them to examine you, will give a high reading.
    • Posted

      Hi Alexandria, I think Mrs O is saying Thierry's doctors are incorrect, not any of us.

    • Posted

      Oh dear, no, Alexandria, I was referring to the doctors being wrong not any of you lovely people on here - Heaven forbid.  

      And Lily, thank you so much for explaining in case I didn't see the message.


    • Posted

      Thanks all of u for your reactions. To respond about the accuracy of my device as asked by Mrs OK I can only say that I use the same device to take the BP of my wife (which is pretty good) and every time it matches with her BP taken by a doctor. To lyly65 I tell thanks your are right the doctor is not my master. The doctor have put doubt in my mind when he said that it should not be too high in his office for a normal person. He recognized the phenomenon of white coat but doubted about the very high numbers. But what I am sure about is that always at home I have an average BP of 132-75.
    • Posted

      Aah!  Definitely sounds like confirmation of White Coat Syndrome then, Thierry.  Thank Heavens for home monitors.  But if your Doctor is still not convinced then suggest an ambulatory monitor to be fitted by the surgery - he can't argue with the results then!

    • Posted

      OK let me tell him but I think where I live in Africa, doctors are not yet using the ambulatory monitor. I will discuss with him.
    • Posted

      Hi Thierry,

      As already mentioned, people who suffer from white coat syndrome often produce bad results on a 24-hour ambulatory test too. You can feel and hear the cuff inflating automatically at intervals throughout the day and night, and if you're prone to spiking you may have exactly the same reaction as in the doctor's office.

      By all means ask your doctor if you want to try this, but don't be too disappointed if you get the same result. It might be worth considering whether to simply accept the high results you're getting in your doctor's office, and live with them. It is, however, important to continue taking your BP at home, to ensure that it isn't rising unduly over time.

      Good luck!

    • Posted

      I only have issues at one docs office. My knee doc. Not sure if it's the sitting on table, the office, what it is. I can go to my gastro, GP, urologist, ear doc, even foot doc and get a 120/80 reading. Knee doc it's 155/105. They notify my GP about it. I come home and check and it's back to normal. My GP says don't worry about it.

    • Posted

      Thank you Lily! What u say is wise. I was thinking the same: feeling that if I take an ambulatory monitor it can stress me everytime I can feel the device taking my BP. Idon't know why doctors are so stubborn on that issue and believe only what they see.

    • Posted

      I know why, Thierry - but my post will get taken down if I say it in public!twisted
    • Posted

      Hi sorry for misinterpreting your comment, I agree they do get it wrong and I think sometimes they can exasperate the situation by reacting negatively to someone's reading, hope I didn't offend you

    • Posted

      I wouldn't even consider a 24 hour monitor, mine would be rocketing LOL so long as you know yours is normal most of the time don't worry, I'm not saying mine is 117/72 all the time but most of unless I have had a really bad night, ie no sleep and pain, that triggers a spike for sure.

      Change your knee Dr LOL could it be your scared he may suggest an op

    • Posted

      Thank you, I'm afraid I can sometimes be a little john blunt, I struggle sometimes in wanting to help but not always thinking before I post smile

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