Why check your blood pressure at home?

White coat hypertension and masked hypertension

Cardiology, Hypertension, Medicine

You may have been told you have “pre-hypertension,” hypertension, or are currently taking medication to treat high blood pressure. It is, therefore, useful to check your blood pressure at home and create a diary of your readings that you can share with your doctor. This is important because many people develop “white coat hypertension” when they visit their doctor.  

White coat hypertension is thought to be related to the increased anxiety people experience coming to see their doctor.

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White coat syndrome is a very common phenomenon and occurs in as many as 20% of people. This false blood pressure increase can be confusing, as it then becomes unclear as to whether a patient has hypertension or not. The anxiety of being at the doctor’s office can cause blood pressure spikes that can confuse the picture. Bringing a self-recorded diary or log will help your doctor make the best decision as to whether or not to adjust your blood pressure medication to achieve optimal control.

White-Coat syndrome: anxiety can cause blood pressure spikes.
As high as
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have White Coat Syndrome

Another good reason to record your blood pressure over a few days or weeks is what they call “masked hypertension”.

Masked hypertension is a condition where your blood pressure is high most times EXCEPT when you come to the doctor and check it there: the opposite of white coat hypertension.

Hypertension is a 24-hour condition and can be affected by many different things like exercise, emotions, medications, and diet. In that way, hypertension is more like a movie than a picture. Would I be able to tell everything about your day from looking at a single picture of you? Because of this, a single elevated reading, like the one at your doctor’s office, can be misleading and difficult to interpret.

About the Author
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Jose Taveras M.D. F.A.C.C.

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Dr Taveras works as a cardiologist caring for spanish speaking communities in the Bronx. He completed a dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and then served as chief resident of internal medicine at the St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center of New York. He went on to specialize in cardiovascular disease at NYU Winthrop Hospital , under the mentorship of Dr. Kevin Marzo, chief of Cardiology at Winthrop. He is board certified in both internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases, and sub specializes in echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and computed tomography of the heart. Apart from his work in community outreach, Dr. Taveras' career focuses on innovation and technology. Dr. Taveras is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. 

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Last Modified: Apr 21, 2018 @ 4:02 pm

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