Hello and welcome back to my blog!
This week was the first week of my experiment. Despite having found many potential patients in the last few weeks, the patients without diagnosed hypertension and a potential history of whitecoat hypertension turned out to be more limited than I had expected. Most of the patients who visit Manhattan Integrative Cardiovascular for regular check-ups have been previously diagnosed with hypertension. White coat hypertension is significantly more common in first-time patients, at least at this specific practice. Therefore, I decided to expand my experimental pool and include those diagnosed with hypertension in my experiment.
Within the diagnosis of hypertension there are several categories, including controlled hypertension and labile hypertension. Controlled hypertension refers to the condition of a patient who has high blood pressure (BP), but does not experience significant fluctuations and has the same pressure in and out of the office, usually stable around <140/<90 (CDC). Labile hypertension is very similar to white coat hypertension. A person with labile hypertension may be on BP medication and receiving treatment, but still experiences the same variability in BP that an individual with white coat hypertension (WCH) does: their pressure in-office is generally much higher than at home, and they are susceptible to BP increases when they get anxious or stressed (Harvard Health).
I have decided to include three hypertensive groups within my experiment: white coat, controlled, and labile. I would like to further explore the similarities between WCH and labile hypertension to see if the neurohacking techniques used for WCH can benefit labile hypertensive patients, as well as using controlled hypertension as the control group within my study.
I began implementing these three groups within my experiment this week. I was able to collect data from three patients, some of which had been diagnosed with hypertension and some who hadn’t. I am also keeping track of who is taking the BP of the patients to see if the gender of the Doctor/Medical Assistant affects BP readings. So far, I have noticed that the calming music has been less effective than the gratitude reflections, and that the written reflection forms I created are not very efficient. Despite calming music within the waiting room, patients appear stressed upon entry to the exam room. However, after writing or speaking about their gratitude they appear visibly more relaxed, and I will confirm this moving forward by asking them how they are feeling before beginning the gratitude responses. For many patients, it is difficult to write, so I have decided it is better to give verbal prompts for gratitude during my experiment as well. Despite the last-minute changes to my participant pool and my experimental method, my experiment has been going smoothly so far! Next week I will continue my experiment and do further research on the different types of hypertension.
“Prevalence of Hypertension and Controlled Hypertension — United States, 2005–2008.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 January 2011, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/su6001a21.htm.
“What is labile hypertension?” Harvard Health, https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/what-is-labile-hypertension