Are Hot Tubs Safe If You Have Heart Disease?

If you enjoy relaxing in ahot tub but have a heart condition, soak with caution. Medical experts saysudden or extended immersion in hot water can superheat your body and stressyour heart.

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“Hot tubs and saunas are potentially dangerous for patients with known or suspected heart disease,” says cardiologist Curtis Rimmerman, MD.

However, awareness and commonsense can help keep you safe while you soak, he says.

Common-sense hot tub tips

Talk with your doctor beforeenjoying a soak. If you get the go-ahead, follow these tips to keep yourselfsafe:

Are Hot Tubs Safe If You Have Heart Disease?

Why do hot tubs put your heart at risk?

When you submerge your bodyin hot water, your temperature rises, but your blood pressure drops.

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Evaporating sweat normallyhelps cool you off. But, when you immerse yourself in hot water, that natural coolingmechanism doesn’t work. As a result, you can’t cool off.

When your body getssuperheated:

Normally, these events don’t cause problems. However, if you have existing cardiovascular disease, the cascade of events could overtax your heart. This can lead to:

Medications prescribed for heart conditions can also contribute to the problem:

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A cardiologist’s advice

Dr. Rimmerman describes theprocess this way: “A sudden rise in body temperature creates significant stress on yourcardiovascular system, predominantly via a cascade of adjustments resulting inan elevated heart rate. The higher heart rate ― especially in the presence ofreduced heart function, heart arrhythmias and coronary artery blockages ― cancause a cardiac event such as blood flow problems and, in the worst casescenario, manifest as a heart attack.”

Go ahead and relax – but safely

You should always keep safetyin mind ― even when relaxing in a Jacuzzi, Dr. Rimmerman says. “My bestadvice is to make sure the water temperature is not too high, to stay hydrated,and if you choose to use a hot tub or sauna ― especially if you are a heartpatient ― engage in the activity for only brief periods of time.”

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