A Canadian researcher has unearthed the relationship between high blood pressure and decreased pain perception in a variety of circumstances, including among individuals with heart disease.
Dr. Bianca D' Antono of the Montreal Heart Institute, currently affiliated with the Universite de Montreal, says that this phenomenon extends to people who typically suffer chest pain during exercise, and may be correlated with a potentially deadly heart condition.
In a study, she drew on data collected from over 900 patients undergoing exercise stress testing to diagnose possible myocardial ischemia (MI), a condition where oxygenated blood is prevented from reaching the heart because an artery has become blocked or constricted.
Generally, exercise should produce pain in these situations, but some patients experience "silence" cases of MI in which no pain is felt, according to an article published in the journal Psychophysiology.
Previous studies had indicated a correlation between high blood pressure and silent ischemia. But the current study provides further validation, says lead author Bianca D' Antono.
"This has implications for several areas, such as the effects of stress, non-adherence to treatment and silent myocardial ischemia," she says.
"Further research will be needed to better understand the relationship between blood pressure, pain perception and heart disease," she adds.