Doctors’ white coats ‘make high blood pressure rise’
Doctors have a dramatic impact on high blood pressure patients, researchers into the “white coat effect” have said.
A University of Aberdeen expert said a study showed the “white coat effect” saw higher than expected pressure level increases in hypertension patients.
Tests saw blood pressure levels rise by as much as 29 units when a doctor checked it, compared with a rise of 17 units if a nurse took the measurement.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for many serious conditions.
The condition affects a high percentage of adults in the UK and is a major risk factor for heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease and stroke.
It is already known that some people getting their blood pressure levels checked by a doctor can suffer what is known as the “white coat effect” with their blood pressure levels increasing due to being in a clinical setting.
The new study involving thousands of patients – published in the British Medical Journal – claims to have shown some patients with high blood pressure will see their pressure levels climb even higher when a doctor takes the measurements.
Prof Arduino Mangoni, from the University of Aberdeen, said: “Hypertension is a chronic disease which often has no symptoms until maybe the patient suffers a stroke.
“It has an enormous health burden.
“Our new study will influence hypertension management guidelines worldwide as they take into account varying degrees of hypertension as well as treatment targets for patients of different genders, ages and with other existing conditions.”
* BBC News