White-Coat Hypertension Defined
White-coat hypertension is defined as having an elevated systolic blood pressure between 140 and 180 mmHg while at the doctor's office, and a normal systolic blood pressure reading of less than 140 mmHg and a diastolic blood pressure of less than 90 mmHg when away from the doctor's office.
Tension and anxiety are known to cause temporary increases in blood pressure. This is one of the reasons that people with normal blood pressure have a high blood pressure reading while at the doctor's office.
If your doctor suspects white-coat hypertension, you may be asked to monitor your blood pressure at home or asked to wear a device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. This device is usually worn for 24 hours and can take blood pressure every 30 minutes.
Most healthcare providers agree that no treatment for white-coat hypertension is required. Several studies have shown no benefit from blood pressure medication used to treat white-coat hypertension. Furthermore, high blood pressure research studies have not shown white-coat hypertension to cause the negative effects of high blood pressure.