White collar blood pressure refers to the increased blood pressure that individuals experience when seeing a doctor. ‘White collar’ pertains to the uniforms that doctors wear on duty. This is also called white collar effect or white coat effect.
Anxiety and agitation makes a person’s blood pressure increase, and the sight of doctors contributes to this. Doctors are usually associated with news of illness, and with unpleasant probing and prodding especially needles. Needles are among the top human fears along with going to the doctor, so it is understandable when a person experiences high blood pressure upon the sight of a ‘white collar’. Similarly, the term also pertains to the ‘white coat surrounding’, that is, the hospital or a medical clinic.
In order to get a more accurate reading of blood pressure in individuals, they are sometimes advised to purchase a blood pressure monitor for personal use. They are then instructed to use this at home or any other non clinical setting where they are relaxed and calm.
Many doctors are believed to wrongly diagnose chronic hypertension because the blood pressure that they read is the white collar version. It is because of this that testing in a non clinical setting is important, in order to get critical diagnoses right.