I've been told that I have white coat or office high blood pressure, is there anything I should do?
Good question. This diagnosis of "office-related" high blood pressure is usually suggested when the blood pressure is elevated during an office visit, but is not usually during the activities of every day life. This may be caused by the anxiety of being in a doctor’s office. Normally, blood pressure increases during activity and decreases at rest. It’s often higher in cold weather and can rise when you’re under stress, startled by a loud noise or feel threatened.
If your blood pressure is high in the doctor’s office monitoring your blood pressure at home can help determine your true blood pressure. The best way to get an accurate reading is to take your blood pressure once a day at the same time so you minimize the effect that external factors have on the reading. A single high reading of blood pressure is not a cause for alarm. If you do note recurrent high readings, let your doctor know. Monitoring at home is a good way to determine your true blood pressure and give your doctor a log of blood pressure measurements over time. Even though there are factors that can affect your blood pressure, you should never ignore several readings that indicate you may have high blood pressure.
People who have white coat hypertension often develop true hypertension as they age. To prevent this, maintain your weight within recommended limits, exercise on a daily basis, and limit the amount of salt (sodium) in your diet.
Important: We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.
Larry Weinrauch is a cardiologist in Watertown, Massachusetts and is affiliated with Mount Auburn Hospital. He wrote for HealthCentral as a health professional for Heart Health, High Blood Pressure, and High Cholesterol.