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Why does my blood pressure rise when I go to the doctor? DR MARTIN SCURR answers your health questions


I have a hard time getting an accurate blood pressure reading because I get so anxious when I’m in the GP office – I believe it’s called white coat syndrome. Do you have any tips please?

John Grout, via email.

What you are describing is indeed white coat syndrome, otherwise known as white coat hypertension – essentially your blood pressure is always higher when measured at the GP’s office.

One possible solution to this is ambulatory blood pressure measurement, in which you wear a cuff continuously – usually for 24 hours. This automatically checks your blood pressure every half hour, via an automated pump and registration system.

Not only does this provide stress-free blood pressure checks, but it also allows your doctor to compare daytime readings to nighttime readings. Blood pressure normally drops significantly at night when we sleep, and if it doesn’t, it suggests there is a problem that needs to be treated.

What you are describing is indeed white coat syndrome, also known as white coat hypertension

An easier option is to buy your own blood pressure monitor (blood pressure monitor) from your pharmacy.

So you can do the checks yourself in the peace of your home.

An easier option is to buy your own blood pressure monitor (blood pressure monitor) from your pharmacy

An easier option is to buy your own blood pressure monitor (blood pressure monitor) from your pharmacy

Buy the simplest model that costs around £20 – a classic upper arm cuff rather than the wrist types, which are less accurate – and measure your blood pressure three times a week or so for a few weeks.

I recommend recording measurements at different times: early in the morning, late at night and sometimes in the middle of the day. Then give the information to your doctor.

It’s important to get an accurate reading, not least because research suggests that some people with white coat hypertension are at greater risk for heart attacks and strokes.

It can reflect a hair-trigger sensitivity to any even slightly stressful event, which can cause blood pressure to skyrocket.

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, as well as taking prescription medications, simple steps that can help include daily exercise, reducing salt and alcohol consumption, and doing daily meditative exercises such as tai chi, mindfulness, or yoga.

I bike three times a week and run at least five miles the other days, but recently I got a sharp pain in my left calf muscle, like severe cramping. It hasn’t improved so I can only limp and not far. I’m 70.

Rodney Godden, via email.

Your description suggests that this is either muscle strain or a partial rupture. Obviously you are very fit and regular exercise is important for your overall health.

However, you explain that you have atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm problem, for which you are taking an anticoagulant (blood thinner). As a result, any bleeding from even minor muscle damage, such as a strain, would cause significant bruising, but this doesn’t seem to be the case with you.

So my guess is that instead of a strain, you’ve had a complete or partial rupture of the soleus muscle, a thin, strap-like muscle that runs from behind the knee to just above the ankle.

This can be damaged by overuse, or if it is suddenly stretched when contracting – such as when you trip.

It takes about four to eight weeks for these injuries to resolve, after which the recovery will be gradual, although the pain should slowly subside during this time.

However, instead of your soleus, it could be the gastrocnemius, the other main calf muscle, that is affected. Unfortunately, you can’t tell which of these it is without an ultrasound.

But an easy way to confirm if it is indeed a calf muscle problem is to stand on your toes while standing — if there is pain, one of these muscles is injured.

You may also have a small area that feels tender when examined by a doctor.

I recommend contacting your GP for a referral to a physiotherapist, who can assess the injury and initiate treatment.

Write to Dr. scurr

Write to Dr. Scurr on Good Health, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email — include your contact details.

dr. Scurr cannot enter into personal correspondence. Answers should be taken in a general context and always consult your own GP if you have health problems.

In my opinion…. The mind has the power to influence immunity

For the millions of us who have had the AstraZeneca Covid shot, there was some very good news this month, suggesting that it offers longer-term protection than the other vaccines. The key is that it produces a more durable T-cell immunity, which lasts longer.

Or that’s the suggestion. The point is, there’s still a lot to unravel when it comes to our immune system — and that includes the role of your mind.

I speak from personal experience, as someone who has suffered from recurrent painful mouth ulcers for decades. As anyone who has had these will know, there is no effective treatment.

The condition, known as recurrent aphthous stomatitis, is undoubtedly genetic in origin and almost certainly related to a problem with the immunity in the mouth.

I had the condition from the age of three, as did my sister, and there was never a time when I went more than a week or two without a series of canker sores.

When I was in my late thirties, a friend showed me some footage he shot with a Swiss scientist, an alternative therapist who lived in the Mojave Desert in the US

My friend had spoken to several dozen people who had been cured of various intractable ailments, including stomach ulcers, hepatitis C, and diverticulitis, by taking a “miracle cure” – a potion – developed by the scientist using certain plants he found in the desert had gathered .

As part of the documentary, I was filmed explaining – with some skepticism – that these testimonials were just anecdotes. The “miracle cure” required a thorough scientific trial if the scientist was to demonstrate that it was effective.

At the end of the shot, my friend asked if, despite my skepticism, I had taken the miracle cure. I admitted I had, and in the months that followed I had had no more aphthous ulcers.

The film Getting To Know The Miracle Man won a scientific documentary award and I have been free of the sores ever since. Here’s an example of the placebo effect and the power of the mind – despite my persistent skepticism – to influence our immunology.


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