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How Can I Control My White Coat Syndrome?

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.   |   Thursday, 13 Jun 2013 04:26 PM

Question: What can I do to control my white coat syndrome? When with a doctor I've known for some time I am OK but when seeing new doctors, my white coat syndrome is more apparent.

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
White coat syndrome refers to anxiety some patients experience in a doctor’s office that may lead to elevated and inaccurate heart rate and blood pressure readings. The best way to deal with it is to manage your stress — in an out of the doctor’s office.
Sleep well the night before a doctor appointment and avoid stimulants and caffeine for 12 hours beforehand. Arrive early for your appointment, and allow some time to relax before you are seen. That will help you avoid rushing, which can increase stress and anxiety. Also, try to keep in mind that during a doctor visit you are consulting a professional who works with you to manage your health; you’re not arriving for an inquisition forcing confession of your bad diet habits or lack of physical activity.
In other areas of life, try to allow time for yourself, and avoid overbooked scheduling. Relaxation exercises and meditation can also be useful in easing stress and anxiety.

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Reducing stress and getting a good night's sleep before a doctor visit can help alleviate the condition.

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