White coat hypertension
High blood pressure (hypertension) puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels, which in time may increase the risk of heart problems such as stroke and heart attack and also kidney problems. It is important, therefore, that blood pressure is accurately monitored and any issues addressed.
It may be that your GP surgery has a Well Man or Well Woman programme or routinely calls in new patients or those in a particular age group to take blood pressure readings as one of the standard checks. Blood pressure readings may be taken in response to various symptoms and is also routinely monitored through pregnancy, so it is important that all readings are accurate to avoid unnecessary treatment.
For some people, however, just the thought of being in a hospital or medical environment is enough to send their blood pressure readings through the roof. Fortunately, medical professionals are becoming much more adept at recognising this condition. If they suspect white coat hypertension the patient may be asked to take blood pressure readings at home for comparison. If there is a huge discrepancy between the readings taken at home and the readings taken at the GP or hospital then this will be confirmation.
If this is you then be assured that there is absolutely nothing wrong with telling the medical professional that you don’t enjoy the sensation of the blood pressure cuff; simply by doing this you begin to take control - but at this point you may also wish to embark on a course of hypnotherapy to overcome the extreme response.
The hypnotherapist will take a detailed history and may want specific details regarding responses. It may surprise you to know that for many people it is less about the numbers (which often mean nothing to the patient) and more to do with the sensation of the blood pressure cuff tightening around the upper arm or the smell of the clinical environment.
The hypnotherapist will work to change your perception of the sensation of the blood pressure cuff on the upper arm and take the fear out of the medical situation. You will learn to take control of the situation using self-hypnosis, affirmations and perhaps other techniques such as tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique). In hypnosis you will be able to rehearse a positive experience of having the blood pressure reading taken.
Don’t take risks with your health! If having your blood pressure taken frightens the life out of you, just remember that it is easily addressed with hypnotherapy.
About the author
Anne Marie is a clinical hypnotherapist based in Hull, East Yorkshire. With a special interest in stress and confidence Anne Marie sees clients age eight upwards from across East Yorkshire for a wide range of issues which in recent months has included smoking cessation, weight-loss, nail biting, white coat hypertension and study skills.
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