DoesVisiting The Doctor Raise Your Blood Pressure?

I went to my doctor last week, for an annual checkup. He checked my blood pressure, and found it slightly elevated. Before considering medication (to control the high blood pressure), he told me to buy a home spygnometer, and check my pressure at home, twice a day for a week,then come back to see him. I did as he asked, and was delighted to see that the pressure was normal(120/80). Of course, I will check every day. Apparently, some people have a problem like me…their blood pressure rises at the doctor’s office for some psychological reason…fear perhaps?
Anyway, can you control your blood pressure by the mind? People who are able to reach a deep meditative state are claimed to be able to even slow their heartbeat…so can one learn to conrol one’s blood pressure?
Seems to me that this would be better than taking medication.

Sure, if the doctor’s hot.

IANAMD, but absolutely your state of mind can influence your blood pressure. That is one reason my doc encourages blood pressures readings self-taken at home – they are less stressful and the reading will likely be lower than at the doctor’s office.

It even has a name: White Coat Syndrome.

Yep. A good friend of mine had exactly this.

They were so worried by his apparent high blood pressure that they made him wear an automated recording device that took the pressure regularly over a 48 hr period.

When the data was analized, all was fine and normal until 10 minutes before he went into the doctor’s office to have it removed!!!

Hypocondria, not. But definately an emotional response rather than a physical one.

I fact the word I was looking for was “psychosomatic”.

I have this going on – I always tell them to check me again in ten minutes or so, because it’s likely to be lower then. For whatever reason, I’m always on edge at a doctor’s office.

I too experience this, with my BP going up at least 20/10 higher than normal. Also, my pulse, which usually is around 60bpm at rest, shoots to the high 70s.

My doctor last time called it “white coat syndrome.” And, from what I understand, it’s pretty common.

Oh, yeah. I always have high blood pressure when I go to the doctor. My doctor’s not too worried about it, though, because I have social anxiety disorder and am generally freaking out when I’m there. I think I might be more scared of going to the doctor than my cats are of going to the vet :eek:

Point of inquiry. Is your blood pressure taken before or after seeing the bill?

If you really want to impress your friends, you call it iatrogenic hypertension. :smiley:

Always happens to me at the dentist’s office. The first time they checked before a root canal, they were really worried. Then I sent them the results of having the school nurse check my pressure each day before classes. No problem. I just really tense up before oral surgery…who would have thunk it? :smiley:

Happens to me quite a bit, too.

Usually after being weighed; I hate that part of the visit and also find it completely unnecessary but that’s another thread …

As mentioned, it’s called white coat hypertension.

I’d love to hear what Qad has to say, but my understanding is that it may not be as benign as one might expect. See also here.

Searching for the terms ‘white’ + ‘coat’ + ‘hypertension’ will yield lots of hits if you want to learn more.

I play with my mom’s sphygmomanometer occasionally when I’m at my folks’ place, and I don’t seem to get so-called iatrogenic hypertension, since my resting b.p. is pretty much the same no matter who takes it. I assume there must be something anxiogenic about doctor’s visits, but I don’t know what it is, since I don’t appear to be susceptible. Do doctors scare people? Are those cold hands or instruments making people antsy? Or, are people afraid the doctor will find something terribly wrong with them, like cancer?

I speak only for myself, but I will tell you what I’m afraid of when I go to the doctor:

Being criticized for not losing weight, exercising, etc. I have social anxiety, and one of the manifestations is an irrational fear of criticism. I break down crying if I am anticipating being criticized. I’m sure this is an extreme case, but other people presumably don’t like being criticized either.

Part of it is also a fear that the doctor will find something terribly wrong with me. I have generalized anxiety, which in my case can sometimes make me expect the worst in any situation. I also don’t like change, and I’m afraid the doctor will find something that will make me have to change my entire lifestyle around.

Cold hands don’t bother me- I can usually give as good as I get on that, because my hands sometimes get cold from anxiety.

I can’t answer for others but for me it’s intimidation. Until I know a doctor is nice, I assume that they are going to be a jerk and so I think I “steel” myself for what’s coming, which sometimes shoots up my (normally perfect) blood pressure.

There are some doctors out there who, if you’re fat, feel the need to inform you of this, even if you’re there because, say, you’ve got a kidney stone or a head cold. Some can get pretty hateful about it so if you’ve ever had a doctor go off on you I imagine you’ll carry that with you for a while. You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff doctors have said to me.

Not to hijack, but I wonder if doctors are as mean to smokers as they are to fat people? I wonder what they’re most likely to nag you about if you’re fat AND smoke …

I have had this happen to some extent, but I’ve learned to control it. If I’m nervous at all when they strap on the BP cuff, then my BP will be measured high. All I have to do is take a deep breath and relax when they put the cuff on. Haven’t had any problems since.

This happens to me when I visit any doctor except my GP
and sometimes my bloodpressure goes high enough to scare them.

I think we have a quorum to form a support group here! Count me in this group too!

My BP and pulse are always racing at the doctor’s office. Haven’t stroked out yet.

Docs like to have my thyroid checked in my instance.