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Extreme Nervousness when visiting Doctors?
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Extreme Nervousness when visiting Doctors?

You may ask, why the Heart Forum for this question?  Well, my heart rate and pulse increase dramatically when I visit ANY DR., and thus I feel affects the outcome of my exam.  My pulse is normally never about 116 or have increased blood pressures approaching "stroke levels", how can I relax and not worry?  Any suggestions would be appreciated?  I go every year for checkups but the "nervous factor" is the killer.  Thank you very much.

By the way, I'm calm looking during my nervous episodes as well.
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Avatar_n_tn
cutestuff2,

Thanks for the post.

Q:"how can I relax and not worry? Any suggestions would be appreciated?"

Doctors make me nervous too.  It's human nature.  You never know when one of those SOBs is going to stick you with something sharp or tell you bad news.  Seriously.  I'm even worse with dentists ... I guess because I know that he is going to jab something in me.

There are lots of techniques for dealing with stressful situations, and this situation is really no different.  Meditation, biofeedback, counseling, and phobia desensitization are all things to consider.  One way you might start is to schedule an appointment with your doctor when you don't need something.  Maybe just sitting and talking about the next visit will help you relax.

Hope that helps.
13 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I feel EXACTLY the same way as you. In fact, I have an appt. for my annual physical next week, and I am nervous about it already.  I have actually had trouble sleeping the last couple of nights.  I get so nervous that my pulse and blood pressure go up a lot.   I wish there was something I could do to not be nervous, but I can't help it.  I have a heart condition as well, so that doesn't help.  I'm almost thinking about taking some Xanax before my appt. to calm me down, but I don't know how that would affect me as I haven't taken it before.
Does anyone have some ideas that work?
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Avatar_n_tn
Babs, by all means, take a little xanax before you go see your doctor.  I'm the same way; whenever I visit ANY doctor I'm a nervous wreck and my blood pressure goes up.  I'm always honest with the doctor about this and they seem to understand.  I HATE doctor appointments because I go into a panic but I never let the panic keep me from going.  Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
I understand the anxiety-- I suffer from the same thing. Keep in mind that if you take Xanax or any other "calming" drug it artifically lower your blood pressure. Therefore, the doc won't be able to measure your true blood pressure, which may not be safe. It's a Catch 22, but you should keep this in mind.

Good luck!
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2886_tn?1338043158
Do you know how many times I have made appts, and then cancel, and then made them again?  Might I add, the Dr's try to be sympathetic, but I am really in "panic mode", beyond normal nervousness.  I can't seem to get anyone to understand this.  And I look pretty calm.  NOTHING I do seems to help, I bring a book, can't read it, trying headphones was suggested, visualization, all I can picture is being carted away in an ambulance.  Thanks for your commments and empathizing with me!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm exactly the same way.  I have to take my blood pressure at home twice a day the week before to prove that it isn't high.  My normal pressure is 100/60.  When I go to the doctor it is 150/100!!  There is nothing I can do.  I've canceled my treadmill twice because I'm always afraid I'll have a fatal arrhythmia while on it.    I have my appointment next Friday and I have to go.  Maybe I'll just think about you and it will help.
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Avatar_n_tn
There are various relaxation &/or biofeedback techniques to help folks relax and calm down.  These include visualization, guided relaxation, progressive relaxation, meditation, and several other techniques.  In fact, your doctor's office may have some suggestions about effective practitioners in your area.  
Actually what you describe is well-recognized as the "white coat syndrome." I know many docs very well (including having several in my extended family--brother, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law), so I have never been particularly nervous with doctors.  They are just humans who are helping us keep our bodies functioning properly.  I also only see docs I am comfortable with, who I know will work WITH me & my family.
As was said, taking a medication may mask any condition you have, so I would definitely talk to the doctor before taking any medication.
Aloha,
Starion
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2886_tn?1338043158
I don't take any meds for anxiety, nor was I ever diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.  I'm a person who can talk to anyone.  I have spoken in front of groups of people.  I also sell cosmetics.  

My doctor (primary care) really does try to make me feel comfortable, jokes and says will take blood pressure readings AFTER checkup.  Doesn't help.  I am far too worked up.  I probably need psych help, since I know part of my anxiety is due to childhood issues.  My mother used to "trick" me, and tell me one thing (like we are going for a haircut) but then later pull into the Dr's parking lot.   I know my parents had issues with going to the Dr., as they did not go very often and would wait till last minute to go.  Money or insurance was not the problem.  Maybe their own personal feelings of the Dr. finding something wrong with them.  

I am a mother.  I take my kids ANY time.  I don't want them to be fearful.  They are not!!  IN fact they LOVE going.  My husband does not LOVE going either.  

I know that Dr's are there to help you.  

I appreciate the ideas, support and the advice.  Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am usually fine going to my Dr but the dentist OMG!!!!! I hate going and usually end up having a near panic attack in the waiting room, so I can understand your reaction.
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2886_tn?1338043158
Thank you all for your remarks concerning my "anxiety" issue.  It feels good to get it out of my system!  I will take up Dr's advice especially just to make an appt to "talk" with Dr.  I hope we all helped each other out even in a small way.

God Bless.

Cutestuff
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Avatar_n_tn
This is my first post to this Forum. I am a 56 year old male with MVP. I also get very anxious when I have to visit my doctor. Today was my day and everytime I do go for a visit my BP is elavated and on come the PVC's just like clockwork. I do take 50 MG of Atenolol and 10 MG of Enalapril for my elavated BP. My MVP was first noticed when I was turned down for a job because I failed the physical at 18 years old except the company doctor called it a heart murmur! He made me feel very uncomfortable and to this day, I will never forget that bad experience.
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Avatar_f_tn
Most doctors do not understand people like us, how we feel inside.  My anxiety almost killed me.  I switched several doctors because I got tired of their and their nurses remarks with "oh my god, are you always like that? we need to get this BP down, you could have a stroke, we can't let you walk out like that".  I always told them when I was called for my vital signs "I have a severe phobia, my BP will be very high please do not mention it in front me, but let the doctor talk to me about it".  As soon as the BP was taken I either got the above mentioned remarks or the nurse showed my BP readings to somebody else and both of them had this shocked look on their faces.  I need to mention that neither Xanax nor Valium nor Ativan or beta blockers help me in moments like these.  I took double dosages before going for a Dr. appointment.  I was in therapy, bio feedback, group therapy, exposure therapy for many years but nothing helped.  I decided to stop going to the doctors, prayed to god to keep me healthy, and that I will not put myself through this any more.  But I kept my yearly eye checkups.  My last eye check up revealed a slight leak from an artery, the eye doctor came with the BP cuff, and bingo my anxiety went through the roof, and my BP was way over 200 and I ended up in the ER.  To make a long story short, after they finally got my BP down I was referred to a cardiologist.  He ran all kinds of tests, found a small mitral valve leak, told me not to worry, but about my BP he told me "that if in EXTREME anxiety or EXTREME anger none of the BP pills or tranquelizers will help at that moment".  He told me from now on to take my BP at home, bring my BP readings with me for my appointments and not have it taken at the doctor offices again. I am on BP meds, and that is fine, I can live with that, but the phobia and anxiety about my BP was unbearable, it almost killed me.  Last but not least, its also VERY important how doctors and nurses approach you.  If they scare the hell out of you, I'm sure unintentionally, it can make a BIG difference in the outcome of your BP if you suffer from a phobia about the outcome of your BP or a phobia of doctors and hospitals for that matter.
And one more thing, different doctors with different opinions can also confuse and scare you.  My cardiologist told me for example "don't worry about occasional spikes, very rarely do people die from it, only if the BP is severely elevated all the time, weight lifters for example who had their BP's taken while weight lifting had a BP of 240/130 on the average and none of them had a stroke yet during weight lifting".  A few weeks after my cardioligist calmed me down I thought, here comes the news about Senator McCain's wife who at the age of 49 had a stroke (bleeding blood vessel in her brain) because of a "spike" in her BP.
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Avatar_n_tn
I feel exactly like all the comments shown here!  Taking 150-200 mg of TOPROL doesn't keep it from skyrocketing even throwing in a mg or two of Cardura.  Dentist, doc, cuff at Walgreen... knowing my BP is going to be checked (other than at home usually) is very predictable.   Wonder if INDURAL is the answer?

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