GPs warned over risks of 'white-coat syndrome'
OLDER people are vulnerable to "white-coat syndrome" where blood pressure rises during visits to the doctor's surgery.
This has led to calls by doctors to exclude this syndrome before prescribing blood pressure medication for older patients.
"It is important, particularly in an older population, to know how prevalent white-coat syndrome is to avoid the inappropriate prescribing of anti-hypertensive agents," according to a study presented to the annual scientific meeting of the the Irish Gerontological Society in Dublin.
The study by medics at Connolly Hospital, Dublin, showed that anxiety over a visit to the doctor may have an effect on patients' blood pressure readings.
In a study of 77,260 patients that included 28,486 aged over 65 years, the older group had significantly higher blood pressure readings.
The study highlighted the need to get other blood pressure readings to reduce unnecessary drug usage as it would be wrong to base the diagnosis on the patient's reading when they are anxious about the visit to see the doctors.
Meanwhile, in a separate study presented to the conference, it was claimed nursing home residents may be on potentially inappropriate medication.
Doctors at Tallaght Hospital, Dublin, looked at 206 long-term care residents aged 65 and over who attended the emergency department.
Their average age was 82.3 years and they were on an average of eight medications.
As many as 81pc were prescribed at least one inappropriate medication.