Doctor’s ‘white-coat’ raises blood pressure

Updated: May 08, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

London: A new study has revealed that a clinical visit to a doctor may actually cause blood pressure to rise during the check up.

The ``white-coat`` effect, as it is being called, occurs due to patients becoming stressed by being in a doctor`s surgery or a hospital.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease and stroke.

It can either be measured in a clinical setting, or by the patient wearing a cuff as they go about their daily lives - known as ambulatory blood pressure checks.

An Australian team has found out that there may be a difference of 29 units between the ambulatory blood pressure measurements with those taken by doctors during check ups.

The results differed depending upon the usual blood pressure levels, the sex and the age of the patient.

"Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is the tool of choice to correctly diagnose high blood pressure.

"Clearly, if you`re going to be treating a person for the rest of their life, you want to get the readings right, and often the reading in the doctor````s office is much higher," BBC News quoted Professor Arduino Mangoni, who recently joined the University of Aberdeen from Flinders University in Adelaide, as saying.

The study has appeared in the British Medical Journal.