The dreaded white coat syndrome

Kingairer

'Tiger Team' Member
#1
So a couple of non FAA doctor visits, a cold and a dentist visit, and my BP was high. I always freak out when I see that cuff, pretty much the first thing I think of when I know I have to see a medical professional. Anyways, my doctor encouraged me to keep a log at home and I have a couple of machines and over a month, various times of day etc my average is 122/72. I go to the doctor it’ll be 145/85+ guaranteed. So what tricks do you employ to relax...I mean it’s only your career!
 

BCTAv8r

Well-Known Member
#3
I've had the same issue and like rausda27 said, controlled breathing helps. I start taking slow deep breaths while I'm waiting to be called in and my BP will be completely normal by the time it's checked.
 

SlumTodd_Millionaire

Socialist Pig Member
#4
I actually do have high blood pressure, not just white coat syndrome, and I'm still getting 1st class medicals without a problem. I had to get an EKG the first time after being prescribed the medication, and the AME had some additional paperwork to fill out, but it's not a big deal, and definitely not a career ender.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
#5
So a couple of non FAA doctor visits, a cold and a dentist visit, and my BP was high. I always freak out when I see that cuff, pretty much the first thing I think of when I know I have to see a medical professional. Anyways, my doctor encouraged me to keep a log at home and I have a couple of machines and over a month, various times of day etc my average is 122/72. I go to the doctor it’ll be 145/85+ guaranteed. So what tricks do you employ to relax...I mean it’s only your career!
My wife has severe anxiety with hospitals/doctors.

Shot of whisky helps.


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trafficinsight

Well-Known Member
#6
I actually do have high blood pressure, not just white coat syndrome, and I'm still getting 1st class medicals without a problem. I had to get an EKG the first time after being prescribed the medication, and the AME had some additional paperwork to fill out, but it's not a big deal, and definitely not a career ender.
Why are you bothering with 1st class?

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trafficinsight

Well-Known Member
#8
I am letting it lapse now. I'll probably still go for a 1st class next time I need to renew, though, just so I know that I can still get one in case I ever need it.
I'll admit it's been a while since I had a 3rd class, does the new 3rd class rule help with your airplane?

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Cessnaflyer

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
#11
I actually do have high blood pressure, not just white coat syndrome, and I'm still getting 1st class medicals without a problem. I had to get an EKG the first time after being prescribed the medication, and the AME had some additional paperwork to fill out, but it's not a big deal, and definitely not a career ender.
Start doing some jogging. It really helped my pre-hypertension.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
#15
So a couple of non FAA doctor visits, a cold and a dentist visit, and my BP was high. I always freak out when I see that cuff, pretty much the first thing I think of when I know I have to see a medical professional. Anyways, my doctor encouraged me to keep a log at home and I have a couple of machines and over a month, various times of day etc my average is 122/72. I go to the doctor it’ll be 145/85+ guaranteed. So what tricks do you employ to relax...I mean it’s only your career!
I have the same thing.

But you know what's funny is that my blood pressure will read *lower* at Walt's office before he retired at at Dr. Ross' office because I feel really chill with them. But man, my primary doctor will drive it through the roof. Much lower when I test it at home.
 

JordanD

Honorary Member
#16
its still within limits..so relax
Good advice in theory but if you're a couple points under the limit, you in turn freak out every time and it becomes a vicious cycle. Plus, you don't want to be barely passing medicals.

Cutting caffeine, and if your appointment is later in the day and you have time maybe a brisk walk or a short jog a few hours before. A huge thing is you should be totally relaxed (as much as possible) before they take it. At least 5 minutes of just sitting there. I know people love the AMEs that rush them in and out in 10 minutes, but that would always give me high readings because they'd strap the cuff onto me within 5 seconds of getting there. Last medical I went to was an actual doctor's office with the usual "wait in here for the doctor for 10 minutes", and my readings were the best they've ever been on a medical.

I will add, keep an eye on it at home more than your usual once a year "I passed" if it's something you're concerned about, and if it is talk to a regular doctor about it. Like has been pointed out in this thread, going on meds with the FAA isn't a big deal at all, most meds are approved, and blood pressure isn't something you want to ignore long term. Meds aren't a big deal, but if it's an actual problem a stroke/heart attack later in your career definitely is.

I actually do have high blood pressure, not just white coat syndrome, and I'm still getting 1st class medicals without a problem. I had to get an EKG the first time after being prescribed the medication, and the AME had some additional paperwork to fill out, but it's not a big deal, and definitely not a career ender.
If I remember right the requirements for going on BP meds with the FAA seem like they've gotten even more lenient in the last few years. I think at absolute most now you have to get a status report from a doctor saying you're stable with no side effects. Really is a non issue.
 

trafficinsight

Well-Known Member
#18
I have the same thing.

But you know what's funny is that my blood pressure will read *lower* at Walt's office before he retired at at Dr. Ross' office because I feel really chill with them. But man, my primary doctor will drive it through the roof. Much lower when I test it at home.
I have 2 docs that I try to see on the same day every year if I can during the aforementioned medical prep season. My BP always reads higher at one than the other, which is perfect. I'm going to guess there's a lot more variation in equipment than I'm used to. The AME always says o have perfect BP too so I guess I'll believe it

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rausda27

Well-Known Member
#19
B/P meds are a CACI item now for AME's and have been for some time. Medication, dosage and a note from your prescribing physician stating that your B/P is well controlled with no side effects noted during a 7 day evaluation period. Helps to track your B/P at home and bring readings with you to the next physical. B/P is a strange thing, I was normal my whole life and then one day it went up. I am low BMI, exercise and eat really well. Genetics can really come back to kick you in the rear sometimes..
 
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