Physiological, psychological, and behavioral factors and white coat hypertension.
Patients with hypertension in the clinic but not during daily activities ("white coat" hypertension) may be at lower risk of hypertensive morbidity and mortality than patients with hypertension in both settings ("persistent" hypertension). We hypothesized that the white coat phenomenon was due to greater blood pressure reactivity to the stress of a clinic visit and that, as a consequence, white coat hypertensive patients would display greater blood pressure reactivity to exercise and mental stress, as well as increased emotional reactivity and higher levels of anger, anxiety, or depression. We studied 89 patients with essential hypertension between 29 and 59 years old with ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, treadmill exercise testing with oxygen consumption measurement, mental stress testing (including mental arithmetic, public speaking, and video game tasks), and psychological testing (State-Trait Anxiety Scale, Cook-Medley Hostility Scale, Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, emotional reactivity scale). We defined white coat hypertension as a mean ambulatory systolic blood pressure of 135 mm Hg or less and diastolic 85 mm Hg or less and persistent hypertension as a mean ambulatory systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or more or diastolic 90 mm Hg or more. Forty-nine patients were classified as persistent hypertensives and 20 as white coat hypertensives. No significant differences were seen in demographic or clinical characteristics, fitness level, blood pressure response to exercise or mental stress, or psychological characteristics, except that white coat hypertensive patients had lower systolic blood pressures in the clinic and during exercise and greater variability of clinic diastolic blood pressures.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Siegel, WC; Blumenthal, JA; Divine, GW
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