Is your blood pressure normal at home but skyrocketing once you are at the doctor? According to a new report, this condition is called white coat hypertension and could increase the risk of heart disease.
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Researchers at Penn Medicine, a university medical center in Philadelphia, recently conducted a study to determine the association between white-haired hypertension and future health problems.
The hypertension of the white coat "was initially attributed to the anxiety that can be felt by patients during medical appointments," the team said in a statement. "However, over the years, research has suggested that high readings could be a sign of underlying risk for future health problems."
For their assessment, they reviewed 27 studies involving 60,000 patients. They identified adults with untreated white-haired hypertension and found that they had an increased risk of heart disease by 36%. They also found that their risk of death, regardless of their origin, was increased by 33%, as well as by 109% of the risk of death from heart disease.
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Their findings were published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
"Our findings highlight the importance of identifying people with this disease," said lead author Jordana Cohen in her release. "Our findings confirm the urgent need for increased blood pressure monitoring off the office across the country as it is essential for the diagnosis and management of hypertension."
Although the authors did not explain why there was a correlation between white coat hypertension and future health problems, they offered some suggestions for combating it.
The team said people with diabetes should have a healthy lifestyle, including banning smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, eating a good diet and exercising.
They also warned health care providers against overtreatment of people with this disease, especially if they were already taking medication for hypertension.
"This could result in dangerously low blood pressure outside the office and unnecessary side effects of medications," said Cohen.
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Scientists now hope to deepen their research to find ways to prevent the risk of heart disease due to white coat hypertension.
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