Anxiety and High Blood Pressure Readings
When I take my blood pressure, the same thing always happens. The first blood pressure reading is always high. Then I wait a couple of minutes and the next reading is lower. Finally, I wait a few more minutes and the reading is lower still. Which reading is accurate?
Most folks are consciously or unconsciously apprehensive when they take their blood pressure, even at home. So, I've found it's always best to throw out the first reading, and average the second two.
Doctors find this same phenomenon in the office, which we attribute to "white coat hypertension," or anxiety about the person in the white coat getting a high reading. Apprehension and anxiety can push a person's nervous system into fight-or-flight mode, driving up blood pressure.
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