The dreaded white coat syndrome


Cap, Roci
Staff member
Well, here’s my recent story. I have “normal” blood pressure, albeit on the ‘high normal’ side. Generally depending on weight and stress level. With the new standards going down by 10 points, my blood pressure is a little more concerning.

I totally have ‘white coat syndrome’. As I said before, it will run lower at Dr. Ross’ office, but run higher at my regular doctors office and low at home when I get around to periodic self-testing. Like @rausda27 said, when I got into my mid 40’s, it sits right at the borderline, but still certifiable, range but certainly below the FAA max of 155/85.
I figured I could sit back and worry about it, or explore an anti-hypertensive. I talked it over with Dr. Ross and from the FAA perspective, as long as it’s four (five?) or less medications with some small exceptions, all my general practice doctor has to do is write a letter that the blood pressure is under control and that you are in good health.

My decision to give anti hypertensives a shot was not to comfortably meet FAA flight physical requirements, but to think “Well, my blood pressure is usually OK, but it could be better and provide me some coverage to make diet and lifestyle changes.

When you start an anti hypertensive, there’s a seven day waiting period to see if you have any side effects that would interfere with flight operations and it’s business as usual.

So if your blood pressure is borderline from time to time like mine, it might be something you may want to look into during the interim of the diet and lifestyle changes that you should be making in order to get it more into the normal range and ultimately get off the medication.

The FAA of a decade ago and the FAA today when it comes to anti-hypertensives are two entirely different animals.