Turn Up Heat On High Blood Pressure

Vasodilation, endothelial function and relaxation 4-7x week can reduce BP risk by half

Frequent sauna bathing reduces the risk of elevated blood pressure, according to an extensive follow-up population-based study. The risk of developing elevated blood pressure was nearly 50 percent lower among men who had a sauna 4-7 times a week compared to men who had a sauna only once a week.

Frequent sauna bathing reduces the risk of elevated blood pressure, according to an extensive follow-up population-based study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland published in the American Journal of Hypertension.. The risk of developing elevated blood pressure was nearly 50% lower among men who had a sauna 4-7 times a week compared to men who had a sauna only once a week.

The same researchers have previously shown that frequent sauna bathing reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. 1,621 middle-aged men living in the eastern part of Finland took part in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD). Participants included men without elevated blood pressure of over 140/90 mmHg or with diagnosed hypertension at the beginning of the study.

Based on their sauna bathing habits, men were divided into three sauna frequency groups: those taking a sauna once, 2-3 or 4-7 times a week. The average follow-up was 22 years. The risk of hypertension was 24% decreased among men with a sauna frequency of 2-3 times a week and 46% lowered among men who had a sauna 4-7 times a week.

HOW SAUNA LOWERS BP

Sauna bathing may decrease systemic blood pressure via different mechanisms. During sauna bathing, the body temperature may rise up to 2 °C degrees, causing vessels vasodilation. Regular sauna bathing improves endothelial function of the inside layer of blood vessels, which has beneficial effects on systemic blood pressure. Sweating, in turn, removes fluid from the body, which is a contributing factor to decreased blood pressure levels. Additionally, sauna bathing may also lower systemic blood pressure due to overall relaxation of the body and mind.

A recent analysis of the same study also revealed that those taking a sauna frequently have a lower risk of pulmonary diseases.

REFERENCE Francesco Zaccardi, Tanjaniina Laukkanen, Peter Willeit, Setor K. Kunutsor, Jussi Kauhanen, Jari A. Laukkanen. Sauna Bathing and Incident Hypertension: A Prospective Cohort Study. American Journal of Hypertension, 2017; DOI: 10.1093/ajh/hpx102.
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