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High Pain Tolerance May Explain Many Unrecognized MIs

A population-based, cross-sectional study suggests that people who better tolerate pain are more likely to have an unrecognized MI, including silent MI, and those less tolerant of pain are more likely to have a recognized MI.

This was especially true for women. study published online December 19, 2016 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers measured pain tolerance by a cold pressor test (which involves keeping one"s hand in freezing water as long as possible for up to about 2 minutes).

The relationship between pain and silent MI has not been studied until now, Dr Andrea Milde Øhrn told. "I was surprised to see that . . . pain sensitivity may be so important in the presentation and diagnosis of MI," she said. "Because the difference in pain tolerance between unrecognized and recognized MI was larger in women, it might be that it takes more symptoms/pain to have your heart attack recognized if you are a woman," she added.