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Is a Hot Tub Bad for High Blood Pressure?

If you’re reading this, you may be wondering if a hot tub is bad for high blood pressure. Should you stop using the hot tub you already have if you have high blood pressure? Or is it the opposite—are hot tubs actually good for high blood pressure? We will uncover the answers to these questions in this blog to help you navigate this often confusing topic.

Is Having a Hot Tub Bad for High Blood Pressure?

Doctors say it’s dangerous to use a hot tub if you have high blood pressure—but with reservations. Hot tubs are usually considered safe for individuals with high blood pressure, as long as certain precautions are taken. If you have other medical conditions, such as heart disease, you need to be particularly cautious. Regardless, you should get the advice of your medical professional to find out what is best for you.

Here is more information regarding precautions and risks related to hot tub use for those who have high blood pressure.

Why Hot Tubs Can Be Dangerous

Is having a hot tub bad for high blood pressure? Certain complications can occur from overexposure to hot tub heat, particularly for those with cardiovascular disease.

For example, overexposure might cause you to experience blood pressure that is too low (which could lead to fainting) or too high, depending on the condition of your heart, blood vessels and arteries, and how they react to the heat exposure. Heat can make your blood vessels dilate, which can in turn lower your blood pressure. As a result, your heart may need to work harder or beat faster to create equilibrium. This can cause pressure on an unhealthy heart.

Other symptoms you might experience can include nausea, fainting, dizziness or a heartbeat that is irregular. Even more dangerous, there is a chance that you won’t have the right amount of blood flowing to your body or heart. Unfortunately, there is also a risk of you having a heart attack.

In addition, hot tubs could interact with your high blood pressure medications. For example, diuretics are commonly prescribed but can cause loss of salt and fluid. If you overheat in a hot tub, you can lose fluid, which increases your risk of dehydration. If you take medication to manage high blood pressure, ask your doctor if hot tub use is safe for you.

What Does the Research Tell Us?

Is a hot tub bad for high blood pressure? There is scientific evidence that shows hot tub use is not harmful for those with high blood pressure. Many argue that the notion you shouldn’t soak in a hot tub if you have high blood pressure is an “old wives tail.”

A study conducted by three researchers in the Departments of the Cardiovascular Risk Factor Reduction Unit and Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Saskatchewan showed no adverse effects from a 10 min hot tub soak. The research was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The study, entitled “Are hot tubs safe for people with treated hypertension?” carried out by researchers Thomas W. Wilson, Tae Won Shin, and Merne Wilson involved 21 participants who had high blood pressure and 23 participants without high blood pressure. The researchers checked each person’s heart rate, blood pressure and symptoms before, during, and after a 10-minute soak in a hot tub with a temperature of 104° F.

All of the research participants experienced increased heart rate as well as lower blood pressure levels during the soak. However, all of the participants returned to their “before-soak” heart rates within 10 minutes of exiting the hot tub.

Furthermore, none of the participants reported discomfort, palpitations, or more than very mild dizziness or headache. This study shows a short 10-minute immersion in a hot tub is safe for most people with hypertension that is controlled with medication. The researchers also did a review of studies conducted between 1966 and 2002. They did not find any proof that a 10 min soak in a hot tub posed any risks for people treated with high blood pressure.

Is soaking in a hot tub bad for high blood pressure? Digging deeper into the subject, the Cleveland Clinic’s Drs. Steven Nissen and Marc Gillnov stated in their reports in 2012 that such this type of hot tub use does not cause any harm to your health. They advised, “Hot tubs and saunas do not cause heart attacks or heart problems or interfere with cardiac pacemakers.” As you get into your hot tub, the blood vessels that are close to your skin get bigger (dilate), which can in turn lead to a small drop in your blood pressure— this is usually not dangerous. If you get in and out of your hot tub nice and slow, your body will have time to adjust to the change in temperature. We are all different, thus you should always ask your doctor whether hot tub use is safe for your health.

Precautions to Keep in Mind

Whether or not a hot tub is bad for high blood pressure, there are some potential risks when it comes to hot tub use. You can still enjoy your hot tub, as long as you take in a few key precautions. Keep these key precautions in mind:

  • If your doctor has advised you to avoid exercise at a moderate level, check with them before using a hot tub. The effects of the heat from your hot tub are similar to those you get from a brisk walk and could be too much stress on your body.
  • Use your hot tub for a very short period of time per session—only about 10 to 15 minutes, especially if you have cardiovascular disease. You should also avoid extremely hot temperatures in the hot tub. Be mindful of how you are feeling and when in doubt, get out!
  • Ask a friend or family member to escort you to your hot tub. Having someone with you can help reduce the risks we have described. An unwanted situation can be more dangerous, should you be alone.
  • Don’t use a hot tub if you experience very high blood pressure (greater than 110 for the lower number and greater than 180 for the higher number). These numbers indicate a (dangerous) hypertensive crisis and anyone in this situation should seek medical help immediately.
  • Never consume alcohol before or during a hot tub session. This is very dangerous and could make you become drowsy and possibly lose track of the time of your session. This could also make you become dizzy when you get out, which raises your risk of fainting or a fall.
  • Do not move back and forth between very hot and cold environments quickly. For example, never go from a steaming hot tub to jumping into a cold lake or pool and back again. This can cause your blood pressure numbers to swing back and forth, and can be very harmful on your system.

So, is having a hot tub bad for high blood pressure? As you can see, “old wives tales” about the dangers of hot tubs are a thing of the past. Of course you need to be careful about hot tubs if you have high blood pressure. However, as long as you remember some key precautions, use common sense and get the green light from your doctor, hot tubs are not considered bad for those with high blood pressure, and the research shows you can still enjoy them. At Seaway Pools & Hot Tubs, we offer top of the line Beachcomber hot tubs, along with many years of experience. Call us and one of our hot tub experts can answer all of your questions. Call us at 905-294-8030 or visit  https://www.seawaypoolsntubs.com/landing/beachcomber-hot-tubs/ for more information.

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