It’s that time of year, when all you want to do after work is sink into your hot tub and relax, letting the stress of the holidays drift away. When family, friends, finances and work collide during the holidays, and the holiday heart attack is lurking in the shadows, it’s that relaxing dip in the Jacuzzi that you look forward too. Unfortunately, for those who have high blood pressure or live with cardiovascular risk, taking a dip in the hot tub can mean big problems.
What Happens To Your Body in a Hot Tub
When you sink into your relaxing Jacuzzi, your body warms up but your blood pressure drops. You probably only notice this reaction when you step out of the hot tub and feel a bit light headed or dizzy. There is a reason why all gym Jacuzzi’s come with a posted warning to stay in no longer then 5 or so minutes.
When your body gets too hot it begins to sweat. But, when you’re submersed in water your body cannot sweat to cool off, and thus it begins to heat up. When your body heats up, and you can’t sweat, your blood vessels dilate, blood diverts to the skin and your heart rate and pulse increases to counteract the drop in blood pressure.
In most situations, this reaction to a hot tub is not life threatening, and while you might experience some light-headedness when you step out of the Jacuzzi, you’ll recover quickly and go on with your evening. However, if you have existing cardiovascular disease and are at risk for heart attack or stroke, these events within your body can have devastating effects.
For example, according to Cleveland Clinic:
- Loss of adequate blood pressure, if your heart can’t pump enough blood
- Increased blood pressure, if you have blood vessel disease or narrowing and hardening of the arteries
- Dizziness or feelings of faintness
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Inadequate blood flow to the heart or body
- Heart attack
How To Enjoy the Hot Tub with Cardiovascular Disease
Don’t worry, you can still enjoy the relaxation that comes with a nice dip in the hot tub, but there are precautions you need to take.
- Avoid alcohol at all costs when in the hot tub. Alcohol will only dehydrate your body more and greatly increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
- Make it quick. With a cardiovascular condition, it’s best to stay in the hot tub no longer then 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how warm the water is.
- Let your body adjust to temperatures. So, get in slowly and get out even slower. This will allow your body to adjust and won’t jolt it in any direction to quickly.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink as much cool water, not cold but cool or room temperature, as possible.