Free Does Sitting In A Hot Tub Raise Your Blood Pressure? Report Example
Blood pressure is a significant entity to determine a person’s medical condition. It is measured as systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. An imbalance in these should be carefully regulated as it can further lead to severe diseases. The exercise here is trying to find the effect of hot water immersion in three healthy humans. Their systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings were measured at rest and fifteen minutes after immersion in the hot tub. The blood pressure readings fell by approximately 4.6% for the systolic blood pressure and around 5.6% for diastolic blood pressure on an average for all the three subjects. The blood pressure variance was not affected by the sex of the individual. None of the subjects observed any discomfort during the immersion, but after coming out of the tub only one subject felt slightly dizzy. An immersion of fifteen minutes is relaxing and convenient but when steeping out, one should take care of some precautions to impart the body some time to cool down to its normal state by drinking cold water and covering the body. It is evident that a ten to fifteen minutes immersion in hot water tub is harmless.
Keywords: Blood Pressure, systolic, diastolic, hot tub immersion
Heart is responsible for supplying adequate blood to the organs via arteries that make the organs function appropriately. The pressure with which the blood flows through the arteries by pressing the arterial walls is defined as the blood pressure. Blood pressure of an individual is measured as Systolic and Diastolic blood pressure readings. The average normal value being 120/ 80 mmHg whereby the top and the higher value is the systolic reading and the lower one is diastolic. The systolic reading demonstrates the pressure in the arteries while the heart is beating and the diastolic reading is the artery pressure while the heart muscles are at rest in between the beats justifying its value being lower to that of the systolic reading. These readings are significant in medical sciences as they give a lot of idea about a person’s health condition (WebMD 2014). It should ideally fall around its normal value during resting which otherwise is considered a medical condition of hypertension (when >140/ 90mmHg) or hypotension (<90/60mmHg). The variance in systolic blood pressure reading holds significance compared to the diastolic reading in identifying the condition.
Blood pressure ailments have gained popularity being a part of the lifestyle diseases. The blood pressure reading fluctuates under the states of resting, sitting, walking, running, stress, excitement and more. Even the daytime and nighttime makes a difference. It is unusual for an individual to have same blood pressure at two different times. Some sort of restriction in the arterial blood flow can be due by deposits that lead to high blood pressure causing heart diseases. A lower blood pressure means wider blood vessels leading to insufficient blood supply to organs that might cause dizziness or fainting.
Since ages, various body ailments have been treated via water i.e. hydrotherapy. Immersion in cold water, hot water has been used to treat several diseases. This is a natural treatment that can serve as remedy for several ailments including respiratory, digestive, heart, urinary and many more. Moovethan A and Nivethitha L in 2014 have summed up the effects of steam, hot and cold water on metabolic rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressures and heart rate. Through the exercise done here, we are trying to identify the effect of hot water on blood pressure of humans on immersion. Shin et al in 2003 carried out a noteworthy exercise with medicated hypertensive and normal subjects whereby they concluded an almost equal fall in blood pressure in both the groups with a slight increase in heart rate. According to them, a ten minute hot water tub immersion is risk free for the hypertensive patients as no adverse effects were observed before, during and after the immersion. Their research was further confirmed by Dr Gillnov, M and Dr Nissen, S in 2013 summarizing that the ten minutes sauna baths and hot water tub baths do not interfere with heart problems, heart attacks or pacemakers when done with some precautions of avoiding sudden changes and maintaining the body homeostasis.
Another study by Hildenbrand K et al in 2012 studied the age and sex influences on changes in blood pressure readings in different water temperatures. Compared to young males and females, older females had less change in systolic & diastolic blood pressure readings. Also, older males had few changes in pulse rate compared to young males in both hot and cool water immersions.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Three healthy subjects (two males and one female aged between 20 to 30 years), without any known respiratory, cardiovascular or blood pressure related ailments, were made to rest on a chair for fifteen minutes before entering the hot water tub. An electronic blood pressure monitor was placed on their arms. According to the instructions on the monitor, the systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings were noted down in a notebook for all the three subjects.
The subjects were then moved in the hot water tub and the stopwatch was started. The blood pressure of all the subjects was noted after fifteen minutes. The blood pressure was recorded by placing the blood pressure monitor on their arms after drying off with a towel. The readings were carefully recorded in the notebook.
The first readings of the systolic and diastolic blood pressure for the three subjects in the rest position as noted through the blood pressure monitor is shown in Table 1. The second reading after sitting in the hot tub for fifteen minutes for all the subjects is shown in Table 2. The percentage difference between the two readings is calculated in Table 3. The results clearly indicate a deduction in the blood pressure of humans after hot tub immersion. The systolic blood pressure dropped by about 4.6% on an average for all the subjects and the diastolic by 5.2% at an average. It did not get affected anyhow by the sex of the individuals.
The conducted exercise interprets that the immersion of human body in hot water tub for fifteen minutes slightly lowers the blood pressure irrespective of the gender. But the fall in the readings were observed for both the systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Our subjects were healthy and did not suffer from any plausible ailments related to blood pressure conditions like hypertension, hypotension, heart diseases, diabetes, etc.
The hot water raises the body temperature and being immersed in water, the body is not able to cool itself via evaporation. Thus, the blood vessels try cooling down the body by dilating the blood vessels and diverting blood to the skin away from the core. The dilation leads to reduction in blood pressure. It becomes easy for the heart to pump blood in horizontal posture compared to the vertical one when we are standing as it now works against gravity but to a lesser extent. The relaxed state of human body sends a signal of lesser effort i.e. reduced muscle use, thus reducing the heart efforts to pump more blood. Being in hot water automatically warms up the body so that heart need not put in many efforts in keeping the body warmed up. These factors reduce the blood flow to the brain leading to fatigue and light-headedness. Although, we did not monitor the heart rate in the current experiment, but the lowering of blood pressure is balanced by an increase in the heart or pulse rate.
Two subjects did not feel any discomfort during the experiment but one subject felt dizzy after stepping out from the hot water tub. The fall in the blood pressure was almost the same for all subjects but subject I with the blood pressure reading of 110/ 76mmHg at rest felt dizzy. Let’s take an insight into the factors responsible for feeling dizzy after stepping out of the hot water tub. On steeping out, immediately the cool air comes in contact with the body constricting the vessels and pores, thus increasing the pressure. Body loses fluid content subsequently after long sitting in the hot tub that causes temporary hypotension. At this stage, a person suffering from hypertensive condition might experience a sudden high blood pressure with extreme symptoms. Feeling dizzy, short of breath, nausea, irregular heartbeats are few symptoms one might experience just after having a relaxed hot tub immersion (Gallant, J 2013). It can be balanced by drinking cold water and covering the body with a towel immediately after coming out of the hot tub. Doing this will offer some time to the body to adjust the change.
Through this experiment, it is evident that for normally healthy individuals these changes do not cause noticeable effects at least up to fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes, if one experiences some discomfort, it should immediately be taken care of. But, the people suffering from cardiovascular conditions need to be very careful before relaxing themselves in a hot tub bath as it is safe till ten minutes but the blood vessel dilation might stress their heart after that and can worsen the condition. Also, the hypertensive and hypotensive patients should go for hot tubs after consultation with their doctors. If otherwise healthy individual experiences any of these symptoms while in the hot tub or on getting out of it should get the blood pressure monitored for any ailments as an irregular blood pressure readings need immediate attention which if not taken care of might lead to other diseases.
The exercise here confirms that it is safe for healthy individuals to have hot water tub immersion bath at least for fifteen minutes. It is always better to have an assistance accompanied while going for it as one might experience light symptoms like dizziness, nausea after stepping out of it. The people with medical conditions who are on medication can also go for it but only after appropriate consultation.
The study can be further widened by carrying it out with subjects from varied age groups. Another group with medical conditions of cardiovascular ailments, hypertension and hypotension can be considered that will provide the safest time limit in hot tub for these patients. Also, observing effect of hot tub on different weights can be interesting.
Dr Gillnov, M and Dr Nissen, S. 2013. 15 Myths and surprising facts about your heart, Three Rivers Press, 2012. Accessed at http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/body/healthyheart/Pages/15-Myths-and-Surprising-Facts-About-YourHeart.aspx on 09 April 2015.
Gallant, J. 2013. How hot tubs affect your blood pressure? Accessed at http://www.drjustingallantnd.com/blog/how-hot-tubs-affect-your-blood-pressure on 08 April 2015.
Hildenbrand, K. Barbosa, L C. Melchior, D. 2012. Different immersion temperature impact upon blood pressure of individuals with varied sex and age. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 6, 303-314.
Moovethan, N and Nivethitha, L. 2014. Scientific Evidence-based effects of Hydrotherapy on various systems of the body. North American Journal of Medical Sciences, May 2014, 6(5); 199-209, Doi:10.4103/1947-2714.132935
Shin, W T. Wilson, M. Wilson, W T. 2003. Are hot tubs safe for people with treated hypertension? CMAJ, Dec 9; 169 (12). 1265-1268p.
WebMD. 2014. Diastolic and Systolic blood pressure: Know your numbers. Accessed at http://www.webmd.boots.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/diastolic-systolic on 09 April 2015.
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