White coat syndrome or white coat hypertension is a serious issue that many seniors deal with every day. The term “white coat” comes from references to the white coats traditionally worn by doctors, and the “effect” essentially pertains to the rise in blood pressure when you’re in a medical setting instead of at home. As we age, we can become more apprehensive about going to the doctor’s so it’s important to address any issues you may have about going to the doctor. You or your senior should be able to identify if white coat syndrome is an issue, and here are a few ways to combat this ailment.
Tips For Battling White Coat Syndrome
Try to Find the Cause of WCS
It’s important to try and identify why you or your loved one might be feeling anxious about a trip to the doctor’s office. It’s possible they’ve had a bad experience in the past, or they might not get along with their current physician. Once you understand where the anxiety comes from, you’ll probably realize that you have good reasons to feel it. Sometimes simply acknowledging your anxiety can help limit the physical impact it can have. Always remember that you’re in a place that is devoted to making you feel better, so there should be nothing to fear.
Prepare For the Visit
In many cases, your anxiety might be coming from the feeling of being underprepared. Gather information that you know you’ll need: insurance card, ID, a list of all medications you currently take, a list of all symptoms and conditions that your doctor doesn’t already know about, and a list of questions that you’d like to ask. This will ensure that you’re asking all the right questions and providing the information necessary for doctors to treat you as best they can.
Bring A Friend or Family Member
Another way to combat your white coat syndrome is to bring a friend or family member along to ease your mind. Having a companion will give you someone to talk to while you are waiting. In many cases, the longer you wait, the worse your anxiety gets, so having someone to pass the time with can go a long way. If you don’t have a companion to bring with, bring a favorite book to read or even a mobile app that will help pass the time and get your mind off of things.
Find a Doctor You Like
One of the biggest reasons that many suffer from white coat syndrome is simply because they don’t like their doctor. Many are often hesitant to switch doctors because they don’t want to offend their current physician or go through the steps of switching primary care doctors. Your doctor should be someone that you enjoy being around and that has good bedside manner. If this is not the case, then it might be time for you to switch doctors. A good doctor should be able to set your mind at ease and limit the amount of anxiety you might have during a visit.
Choose a Time That’s Right For You
Nobody likes to rush to make it to an appointment, so make sure to pick a time of day that works for you. Many like to schedule appointments for the early morning so they can get it over with and have the rest of the day to enjoy. Others will prefer an appointment in the evening so they do not disturb their daily routine. Either way, make sure to pick a time that will allow you to prepare for your visit.