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Dr. Rick, MD
Dr. Rick, MD, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10792
Experience:  20+ years as a doctor. Internal Medicine Internship in NYC
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I am a 68 year old male in generally good health. I have had

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I am a 68 year old male in generally good health. I have had an anxiety disorder for many years. One of the places the anxiety shows up is with visits to doctors and hospitals (also public speaking, flying on planes, etc.). About 20 years ago it was detected that i have what is called "White Coat" hypertension; that is, when my BP is measured by a doctor or at a hospital it is always elevated, but when I measure it at home it is quite normal (typically 125/70). Last fall it was measured before a Colonoscopy and was 195/101. The physician didn't seem concerned about it, and when I measured it at home later that evening it was 131/78. I have calibrated my BP cuff with my physician's and have monitored it for many years always getting consistent results.
I have tried anti-anxiety meds such as Xanax, but so far haven't found a drug or dosage that completely eliminates the problem. My psychiatrist recently prescribed Klonopin which is showing promise but I have not yet tested it in a situation where there is significant anxiety. My questions are: (1) Is it advisable to take a flight of several hours on a plane? I feel anxious when I fly, but of course can't check my BP when flying. (2) Are the elevated readings risky, even if for a short period of time?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Thomas, MD replied 9 months ago.

Hello

1. I see no problems flying if cleared by your doctors. White coat HTN should not be an issue.

2. If you are continually going 190/110 or higher, this can have some risk, but not risky in the sense of hypertension. It depends on white type of shape you are in as well.

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Expert:  Dr. Rick, MD replied 9 months ago.

White coat hypertension is a fallacy.

You really need to start taking your BP at home at various times during the day.

Write the results down and then make an appointment to go over the values with your doctors.

And, yes, you can check your BP while flying with a portable unit that you can buy anywhere....Walmart has some for under 20 bucks.

Does this make sense to you?

It's safe for you to press the positive feedback button now if you so desire. And, never fear, even after you press that button I'll still be right here to continue helping you, but, as I do work for tips, I want to make sure you are happy before rating me.

Dr. Rick MD FACS

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