High Blood Pressure Risks With Hot Tubs And Saunas
You have high blood pressure, which you keep under control by taking medications. Is it safe to soak your cares away in your hot tub or work up a sweat in your sauna?
Doctors say yesbut with reservations. Hot tubs and saunas are generally considered safe for people with high blood pressure, so long as you take certain precautions. If you have other serious medical conditions in addition to your high blood pressure, such as , you need to be especially careful.
Heres a guide to the risks and precautions involved in using hot tubs or saunas if you have high blood pressure.
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Can A Hot Tub Help To Lower High Blood Pressure
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There is a lot of controversy about whether hot tub use is good for individuals who suffer with high blood pressure. There are a lot of people who suffer with this medical condition that would absolutely love to enjoy a warm soak in a hot tub, but are afraid to.
Many people believe that when someone first immerses themselves in a hot tub, their heart begins to work harder and faster. This is a mechanism to get rid of the excess heat that the body is experiencing from the warmth of the water. While this is taking place, there is increased blood flow which increases the oxygen level throughout the userâs body. It is during this process that the initial blood pressure may rise temporarily, but the warmth causes the cells to dilate, which in turn decreases the heart resistance and the blood pressure begins to drop.
In general, health experts feel that hot tubs should not create any problems provided that the user’s hypertensive condition is under control. As with any medical condition, following the advice of your health care provider is the priority.
One thing to be very cautious about however, is not to switch back and forth between a cold water venue and then to the hot tub. This can create an increase in blood pressure.
How Do Hot Tubs Affect Blood Pressure
Its been found that spending time in a hot tub might slightly increase your blood pressure for a short period of time, but it will eventually reduce it. This is because of the passive heating of the body. The internal body temperature is raised which causes the blood vessels to dilate in an attempt to cool down. The raised body temperature will also increase the heart rate. This combination of dilated blood vessels and increased heart rate will ultimately reduce your blood pressure. Studies have shown that people with high blood pressure, as well as those with normal blood pressure, will experience a decrease in blood pressure after a 10-minute soak in a hot tub. Its also been found that those who exercise in warm water can experience lower blood pressure for as long as 24 hours after the exercise session.
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Who Should Avoid Hot Tubs
If you have any concerns about using a hot tub, its worth having a conversation with your doctor. This is especially important in the following situations:
- Heart disease. Soaking in a hot tub can affect heart rate and blood pressure. This may be beneficial to some people with cardiovascular concerns but could be unsafe for others.
- Pregnancy. Its easy to get overheated when youre pregnant, which can be harmful to you and your baby.
You may also want to avoid a hot tub if you have:
- Skin injuries. Wait until cuts, open sores, or rashes have healed to reduce the risk of irritation and infection.
- Low blood pressure. If youre prone to lightheadedness or fainting, you should probably avoid the hot tub as the hot water could lower your blood pressure further.
- Urinary tract infection . Exposure to hot water when you have a UTI may worsen your symptoms.
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Taking Hot Baths Regularly May Lower Blood Pressure Study Says
Taking a hot bath several times a week has been shown in a study to possibly reduce your risk for blood pressure and diabetes.
These findings came from a cohort study of 1,300 individuals in three different bathing groupsthose who took a hot bath less than one, from one to four, and four or more, times a week.
Consistent with other findings based on the therapeutic benefits of extreme heat, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes collected measurements like blood pressure, body mass, and blood tests, and found that those with a higher frequency of bathing saw decreases in body weight, diastolic blood pressure, and glycated hemoglobin .
The highest average risk reductions were observed in those who bathed four or more times a week for a mean duration of 16 minutes, and the improvements in blood pressure and blood sugar were observed in adults regardless of weight, age, sex, or medications taken.
Heat therapy, shown here with hot tub bathing, can be one effective therapeutic option for type 2 diabetes in daily life. An alternative form of heat exposure might be nutrition therapy and exercise,noted Hisayuki Katsuyama, MD, in a report with Medscape news.
Why Do I Feel Faint After A Hot Tub
Your blood pressure varies as a result of physical activity. When you stand up or sit down, your blood pressure drops. This is known as orthostatic hypotension. When this is combined with the low blood pressure induced by the hot tub, it is possible that a person in a hot tub may feel dizzy. Also, heat stress can cause some people to pass out. As your body heats up, so does your blood. If you are not used to the heat, your heart has less time to beat and pump more slowly, causing you to feel fatigued and light-headed.
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Other Reasons To Be Aware And Cautious
Further health matters, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, heart conditions and prescription medication, are also factors to consider. If any of these conditions apply to you, you should consult your doctor first before attempting to enjoy an evening dip in a hot tub. Pregnancy is also a reason to be extra cautious where hot tubs are concerned it doesnt mean that pregnant women cant enjoy a hot tub session but they should talk to their doctor and monitor themselves closely if they decide to try it.
Stay On The Safe Side
Both saunas and hot baths seem to be safe for people with stable heart disease and even mild heart failure. But people with unstable chest pain , poorly controlled high blood pressure, or other serious heart issues should avoid them.
“People who are in their 70s and older whose blood pressure is on the low side also should be extra careful,” says Dr. Hutter. If the water’s too hot in a bath or hot tub, your blood pressure may dip too low, which can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded, he explains. By low, he means a systolic pressure around 110 mm Hg or lower. “A water temperature of 100° to 105° F is reasonable. Get in slowly, so your body can accommodate gradually,” he advises.
A typical Finnish sauna temperature is around 175° F. Stay in no longer than 15 to 20 minutes and for a shorter period if you have low blood pressure. If you start feeling uncomfortably hot or lightheaded, sit down outside the sauna. It’s also a good idea to cool down gradually don’t go straight outdoors in cold weather. Finally, drink several glasses of water afterward to replenish fluids lost from sweating.
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High Blood Pressure Explained
Blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure of the blood against the walls of your arteries. A combination of narrow arteries and fast pumping of the blood by the heart will lead to a higher blood pressure reading. Over the long term, high blood pressure can lead to health complications by damaging the arteries, blood vessels, heart and other organs, although very often the symptoms arent even noticeable until the damage is done.
Swim Spas And Blood Pressure
Science has shown that one of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure is through regular physical exercise. Most physicians recommend 30-40 minutes a day of aerobic activities such as walking, jogging, and swimming. When done routinely, these types of exercise can help with hypertension.
Swimming and performing aqua aerobic exercises have been shown to have impressive effects on lowering blood pressure over time. One study found that a 10-week course of water aerobic activity, including swimming, reduced the participants blood pressure by 12 points. If you dont own a swimming pool, a swim spa can offer the same results. Blue Lagoon Spas, a Sacramento area, swim spa dealer, offers a broad range to suit any budget and space.
For some great aerobic exercises, you can do in the swim spa, click here.
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What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is one of the bodys vital signs which include body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation. Blood pressure is the measurement of pressure against blood vessel walls. This pressure is caused by the effort expended by the heart to cause the blood to circulate throughout the body. When the heart beats faster, in combination with narrow arteries and blood vessels, the blood pressure increases. If the arteries and vessels dilate or the heart beats slower, blood pressure is decreased.
Hydrotherapy To Control Blood Pressure
Hydrotherapy, or the use of water to treat medical conditions, can be included as part of a program to reduce high blood pressure. By soaking in warm water the bodys temperature can be increased, a technique known as passive heating. Even raising the core body temperature by a single degree will dilate blood vessels, increase the heart rate and blood circulation and lower the blood pressure.
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The Warm Water Can Harbor Risks To Your Health Especially If You’re Older
by Aaron Kassraie, AARP, June 17, 2021
En español | Summer travel season is in full swing, and for some vacationers relaxation plans include a soak in a hot tub at a hotel, resort or vacation rental. But before you get your feet wet, especially if those feet have a few decades worth of miles on them, you should consider the health risks of dipping into a public hot tub.
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a total of 208 confirmed outbreaks of illness associated with treated recreational water primarily public swimming pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds between 2015 and 2019. The outbreaks resulted in 3,646 cases of illness, 286 hospitalizations and 13 deaths. Most outbreaks occurred in June, July or August. Health experts suspect the actual numbers are even higher since many illnesses go unreported.
Hot tubs can be a particular concern for vacationers. During the five-year period, 1 in 3 water-related outbreaks were connected to hotels or resorts, according to the CDC. Of those outbreaks at hotels and resorts, the majority 70 percent were tied to hot tubs.
Here are four health-related reasons you may want to avoid hot tubs if you’re an older adult.
What Happens If You Stay In The Hot Tub Too Long
Overheating If you stay in a hot tub for too long, your body might overheat. If it is chilly outside, this might result in hypothermia symptoms or even fainting. Changes in blood flow to the brain can also produce nausea and vomiting. If you remain in the tub for more than an hour, get out immediately and re-warm yourself by soaking in a cold bath or taking a cool shower.
Soaking injuries Another thing that can happen if you stay in the tub for too long is sopping clothing. Make sure that you don’t soak your clothes in scalding water for too long wash them right away after using the hot tub. This will help prevent skin burns and irritations.
Heart problems If you have heart problems, such as coronary artery disease or heart failure, you should not stay in the hot tub for a long time. It is important to listen to your body and get out of the hot tub if you feel uncomfortable or unwell. These feelings are signs that it’s time to get out.
Paralysis/neurological issues If you have nerve or spinal cord damage, you should not stay in the hot tub for too long. You could suffer from excessive heat exposure or even drown. This is because the surface area of the body that is exposed to the water is too large.
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