How to reduce your blood pressure – the ONE relaxing habit to keep up

High blood pressure: Doctor explains benefits of hibiscus tea

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

If your blood pressure is high, your risk of a number of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes is increased. There is a range of treatments for high blood pressure, from lifestyle changes to medicine, and it’s important that you consult your GP about how to move forward as soon as you learn you have high blood pressure. You can reduce high blood pressure in as little as three days to three weeks. chatted to Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy to find out the ONE relaxing habit involving hot water that helps to reduce your blood pressure.

How to reduce your blood pressure – the ONE relaxing habit to keep up

When you climb into a hot bath, a hot tub, or a sauna – you may not realise you are doing your heart a favour by lowering your blood pressure.

Most hot tubs operate at temperatures of 95-104 F (35-40C) – which is hot!

After immersing yourself at this temperature, your own body temperature, including your core temperature will rise by around one degree.

Dr Lee explained: “When your body heats up, this causes vasodilation, lowering your blood pressure and quickening your heart rate.

“Your body mistakenly thinks you are exercising – and as you know – exercise is good for health.”

But does this blood pressure reduction last, and is having a hot bath or getting in the hot tub or sauna actually a good solution to high blood pressure?

How does hot water immersion benefit health?

Studies in mice have shown that immersion in hot water leads to the production of heat shock proteins (HSPs).

These are molecules specifically produced to protect the cell from damage due to overheating.

The HSPs then switch off chronic inflammation, by stimulating the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines (cell signalling molecules).

HSP’s are involved in regulating the immune system and they also improve insulin sensitivity, which is beneficial for those with insulin resistance or type two diabetes.

The hot sauna experience has the same effects as the hot tub and will also reduce your blood pressure, Dr Lee said.

In one 2015 study, the investigators studied the cardiovascular effects of saunas in a group of 2,300 middle-aged men.

Men who went in the sauna two to three times per week experienced 23 percent less fatal cardiovascular disease than men who only had a sauna once a week.

Men who had a sauna four to seven times a week had a 48 percent lower risk of fatal heart disease.

It seems even those being treated for hypertension can safely sit in the hot tub, according to a 2003 Canadian study.

The researchers measured the blood pressure of two groups of adults, before and after being immersed in a hot tub for 10 minutes.

One group were adults aged 46 to 76 years on treatment for hypertension, and the second group were controls who did not have hypertension.

Blood pressure was lowered to a similar degree in both groups, so the authors concluded it should be safe for those with treated hypertension to sit in a hot tub.

However, hot water immersion in a hot bath, hot tub or sauna isn’t suitable for all adults.

Anyone with uncontrolled chest pain (unstable angina), high blood pressure that is not well controlled, or anyone with a serious heart disease diagnosis should avoid hot water immersion.

Dr Lee said: “Always take advice from your GP or heart specialist if you have heart problems before you start undergoing regular hot water immersion.

“Allow yourself to cool down slowly after a hot tub/bath, and drink two or three glasses of water, to avoid being dehydrated.”

Does it last?

Your blood pressure won’t be reduced forever after one sauna or hot tub session or one bath.

Studies report that a half-hour sauna bathing experience, reduced systolic blood pressure (the upper reading) by 14-16 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure (the lower reading) was reduced between 9-10 mm Hg.

Systolic blood pressure was still lower than the pre-sauna reading, half an hour after the end of the sauna session.

That’s why it’s important to keep this habit up regularly to see any benefit.

In one prospective, 2015, study, a group of 2315 middle-aged, Finnish men were followed up for over 20 years.

Those who took regular hot saunas were found to have a significant reduction in sudden cardiac deaths. The more frequent the saunas, the stronger the benefits.

Those who had a hot sauna two to three times per week or more, had lower rates of fatal cardiac events, fatal coronary artery events and overall mortality, than those who only took a sauna once a week.

The greatest benefits were seen in those who stayed in the sauna for sessions lasting 19 minutes.

To get the best cardiovascular benefits, other studies have shown you need to couple regular hot baths, saunas with regular exercise.

Interestingly, taking regular saunas or hot water immersion has been shown to have similar health benefits to taking regular walks.

Both of these activities lead to:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Improvements in the responsiveness of the endothelium (the inside of the blood vessel walls)
  • Reduced oxidative stress
  • Lowered levels of chronic inflammation
  • Improved responsiveness of the SNS and PSNS
  • Improved arterial stiffness, arterial compliance and intima medial thickness (thickness of arterial walls)
  • Improved cardiorespiratory function
  • Improved cardiac function

The British Heart Foundation has acknowledged the potential benefits of taking regular hot baths, however, they point out that generally these are small studies, and more research is needed to be able to confirm the benefits, Dr Lee said.

She warned: “They also stress that to reduce your risk of heart disease, other factors are more important, such as stopping smoking, improving your diet, losing weight, reducing your alcohol consumption and making sure you take regular physical exercise.”

Source: Read Full Article