Hypertensive hypoalgesia in a complex chronic disease population

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Hypertension-related hypoalgesia, defined as lower pain sensitivity in individuals with high blood pressure, has yet to be examined in a large-scale study of complex care residents. Here, the Continuing Care Reporting System database, which contains health information on residents of Canadian complex chronic care facilities, was used for assessment. Hypertension was reported among 77,323 residents (55.5%, total N = 139,920). Propensity score matching, with a 1:1 ratio, was used to identify a control record without hypertension for each case. Multinomial logistic regression was used to quantify the effects of hypertension and sex on four-level ordinal pain variables, controlling for potential confounders. The matched dataset included n = 40,799 cases with hypertension and n = 40,799 without hypertension, with 57% female. Residents with hypertension had significantly lower odds of reporting pain (yes/no) (OR = 0.85, 95% CI 0.81–0.90, p < 0.001), including on measures of severe pain (OR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.63–0.76, p < 0.001). A significant interaction between hypertension and sex (OR = 1.17, 95% CI 1.03–1.32, p = 0.014) indicated that a significantly greater proportion of females without hypertension reported severe pain (8.71%). The results confirm the relationship between hypertension and reduced pain sensitivity on a population level.