The White Coats are Coming!

At the doctor's office

Does the thought of having a physician take your blood pressure make you nervous? Anxiety over going to the doctor’s office can lead to an elevation in your blood pressure; a condition known as “white coat hypertension.”

White coat hypertension is a real condition that occurs when blood pressure readings at your doctor’s office are higher than they are in other settings, such as your home. The term white coat refers to the traditional white lab coat health care professionals wear in clinical settings.

The underlying cause of white coat hypertension is believed to be tension and stress associated with being examined by a physician. Not much attention was given to this condition since the blood pressure of patients returned to normal levels when taken in the home environment, where they feel more relaxed. Recent studies however have proven that people with white coat hypertension are twice as likely to develop true hypertension within a decade, compared to people with normal blood pressure levels.

How do you know if you have white coat hypertension and what should you do if you have it? The first step is for your doctor to have you monitor your blood pressure at home to see if it returns to normal levels. If it does, together, you and your doctor can decide whether to treat it or not. On one hand, if your blood pressure is normal during the rest of the day, taking blood pressure medications can lead to hypotension (low blood pressure). On the other hand, people with white coat hypertension might have elevated blood pressure during other stressful parts of the day. Many factors, such as age, family history, and the existence of other conditions will help the doctor make the right decision for you.

There are things that you can do to reduce your anxiety and stress before having your blood pressure checked by a health care professional. First, avoid drinking excessive amounts of water before checking your blood pressure because water can increase your reading. Also, do not participate in any physical activity before having your blood pressure taken. Excessive physical exertion will raise blood pressure. Lastly, avoid stressful situations and remain calm leading up to and during your visit to the doctor’s office.

If you think you have hypertension, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. If you do not have a primary care physician, call Jamaica Hospital’s Family Care Center at 718-657-7093 to schedule an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Pre-Diabetes?

docpicAre you one of the estimated 54 million people in this country who have pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a silent health condition that has no symptoms and is almost always present before you develop type 2 diabetes.

It is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. If you haven’t visited your doctor, a good way to see if you are at increased risk for pre-diabetes is to take the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Diabetes risk test by visiting www.diabetes.org/risk.

Among those who should be screened for pre-diabetes include overweight adults age 45 and older or those under age 45 who are overweight and who have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Habitually physically inactive
  • Have previously been identified as having impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are members of certain ethnic groups (including Asian, African-American, Hispanic or Native American)
  • Have had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a child weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Have elevated blood pressure
  • Have elevated cholesterol
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Have a history of vascular disease

That said, if you have pre-diabetes, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by a sustained modest weight loss and increased moderate-physical activity, such as walking 30 minutes a day.

Through weight loss and increased physical activity, a dietitian may direct you on how to make food choices that cut down on the amount of fat and carbohydrates by:

  • Eating more foods that are broiled and fewer foods that are fried
  • Decrease the amount of butter you use in cooking
  • Eat more fish and chicken
  • Eat more meatless meals
  • Re-Orient your meals to reflect more vegetables and fruit

If you have symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision, you may have crossed from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.

It’s best to consult a physician if you’re concerned about pre-diabetes or if you notice any type 2 diabetes signs or symptoms. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  To make an appointment, call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

10 Tips for Dining Out For Those With High Blood Pressure

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Dining out is a treat we look forward to because we get to try new foods or indulge in our favorite cuisines. However, it is recommended that if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure to be mindful of the foods you pick from the menu.  It is suggested that you stick to a diet that is low in saturated fats, does not contain MSG and has very little sodium or no added salt.

Nutritionists also advise that practicing the following tips when dining out will help in controlling blood pressure levels.

  1. Choose appetizers with fruits or vegetables, instead of salty treats.
  2. Ask for your food to be prepared without added salt or MSG.
  3. Stay away from the saltshaker.
  4. Select foods that are prepared using healthy cooking techniques such as grilling or steaming.
  5. Avoid foods that are pickled, smoked or cured.
  6. Cut away excess and visible fat from meats.
  7. Avoid using butter or foods prepared with butter.
  8. Limit sodium intake from condiments by using them sparingly or by asking that they be served on the side.
  9. Steer clear of items that include cheese.
  10. Limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

If you have high blood pressure you can still enjoy restaurant meals and make healthy food choices by sticking to the preceding tips.  In addition to eating healthy it is also important to remember to incorporate exercise into your daily routine and take medications as prescribed to help control your blood pressure.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.