What is the white coat effect and how do you avoid it?

Have you ever heard of the white coat effect? It’s when your blood pressure reads slightly higher than usual when it’s measured by a doctor in a clinic or hospital setting. This happens when your blood pressure reads slightly higher than usual when done by a Doctor in a clinic or hospital setting. 

This effect is caused by stress/anxiety that doctor appointments can create. However, some doctors see this as a risk of developing underlying blood pressure conditions. 

Often, the white coat effect is misinterpreted as hypertension. Remember that hypertension is generally high blood pressure in any given circumstances, not only in a medical setting.

Why is this a problem?

Experiencing nervousness or anxiety when visiting a doctor is the main cause of a slight increase in your blood pressure. You may not need to worry if the sudden spike of blood pressure only happens from time to time. But, it is still best to check with a doctor and determine any underlying issues.

According to a study conducted by University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, people who experience the white coat effect have a higher risk of getting a stroke, heart attack, heart failure other cardiovascular conditions.

Because of this, it is vital to distinguish whether this only occurs occasionally or if a treatment is needed to address the sudden spike in your blood pressure.

How do you overcome White Coat Syndrome?

Before going to your Doctor’s appointment, here are some tips that could help you get an accurate reading.

  • Relax - You can inform your nurse or Doctor to wait a moment for you to relax before they strap on the blood pressure cuff.
  • Request a quiet room - If the waiting room area is a bit noisy or full of people and is giving you anxiety, you can request to move to a quiet area so you can get an accurate reading
  • Learn some relaxation techniques - Think of things that make you relax. It could be breathing exercises before the appointment, or simply focusing on your blood pressure test.

Think of things that make you relax. It could be breathing exercises before the appointment, or simply focusing on your blood pressure test.

Another option is to monitor your readings at home. All you need is a reliable and accurate wrist or upper arm blood pressure monitor. This would really lessen the sudden spike of your blood pressure and you won’t have to deal with anxiety and nervousness. However, this does not replace actual Doctor Appointments, but instead helps medical professionals in diagnosing any health problems.

American Heart Association recommends home monitoring of blood pressure specifically for people with the following conditions:

  • Anyone diagnosed with high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension).
  • Individuals starting high blood pressure treatment to determine its effectiveness.
  • People requiring closer monitoring. Especially individuals with risk factors for high blood pressure and/or conditions related to high blood pressure.
  • Pregnant women, experiencing pregnancy-induced hypertension and/or pregnancy-associated hypertension.
  • Evaluating potentially false readings, like:
    • People who only have high readings at the doctor’s office (“white coat” hypertension).
    • People who only have high readings at home, but not at the doctor’ s office (“masked” hypertension).

Source: heart.org

If you want to monitor your blood pressure at home, but don’t know what blood pressure monitor to use, check out iProven’s blood pressure monitors.

Business Insider

The iProven thermometer is remarkably easy to use and designed for use on adults, kids, and babies. It's our pick for The Best Thermometer Overall."
Read More

Tom's Guide

"The iProven works quickly. Testers results were nearly instantaneous. The iProven has enough flexibility to make it our pick for the best thermometer."
Read More


"Squirming kids are no match for the iProven DMT-489 thermometer. This is our pick as Best Thermometer for Kids in 2020."
Read More

The Bump

"When you have a sick baby on your hands, the last thing you want to deal with is trying to take baby’s temperature. The iProven gets it done fast—and with accuracy."
Read More

Digital Trends

The digital display is large and super easy to read, which is great for when you’re feeling woozy."
Read More

New York Times

"Our Recommended Overall Ear & Forehead Thermometer in 2020."
Read More

CNN Underscored

"If you want a thermometer for every member in your family to use, then the iProven No-Touch Thermometer fits the bill."
Read More

Mom Loves Best

"This is our Pick for the Best Digital Basal Thermometer. It comes with high precision, all inclusive good package value."
Read More

Verywell Familty

"If you want an accurate reading, reach for this rectal thermometer from iProven. It's our pick for best budget thermometer of 2021."
Read More

Recently viewed

Community Resources for Independence

After reaching out to iProven I felt relieved. They made the process and purchasing so simple. They helped us out on pricing and for being a non-profit. The thermometers were shipped and delivered within days! I would highly recommend this company to anyone. I am so glad we got a chance to work with them.”
-Sarah Pettys from

California Rural Indian Health Board Inc.

“Thank you again iProven for your patience from day one and for always keeping me aware of any changes, delivery status, shortages, etc. Your professional work ethics are superior. Such a pleasure working with you and your team!” 
-Michelle Thomas from