Updated:03/25/2020 11: 36h
Regular bathing in the tub is linked to a lower risk of death from heart disease and stroke, according to a long-term study published in the online version of the journal Heart. And the higher the “dose”, the better seems to be for cardiovascular health since a daily hot bath is apparently more protective than once or twice a week.
Bathing is associated with good sleep quality and a healthy feelingbut it’s not Clear what might be its long-term impact on the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, sudden cardiac death, and stroke.
To explore this further, the investigating authors of this study turned to participants in the Cohort Study 1 of Japan Public Health Center, a population-based follow-up study of more than 61,000 adults middle-aged (45 to 59 years old).
At the beginning of the study in 1990, some 43,000 Participants completed a detailed questionnaire about their bathing habits and potentially influencing factors: lifestyle, including exercise, diet, alcohol consumption, weight (BMI), average sleep duration, and medical history and current use of medications.
Each participant was followed until death or study completion in late December 2009, whichever comes first, with the final analysis based on 30,076 people. During the whole period 2,097 cases of cardiovascular disease occurred: 275 heart attacks, 53 sudden cardiac deaths and 769 strokes.
After taking into account potentially influencing factors, data analysis showed that, compared to a weekly or no bath once or twice, a daily hot bath was associated with a 28% lower overall risk of cardiovascular disease and a 26% lower overall risk of stroke.
The frequency of bathtubs in baths was not associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, nor with a particular type of stroke, called subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the space around the brain). However, a linked editorial gives a note of caution, because death sudden associated with hot baths is relatively common in Japan, where the study was conducted.
Further analysis of the preferred water temperature indicated a 26% lower and 35% lower risk of general cardiovascular disease for warm and hot water, respectively. But no significant associations for risk emerged general stroke and water temperature.
After excluding participants who developed cardiovascular disease 5-10 years from the start of the study, the associations found that they were not as strong, but still they were still statistically significant.
This is an observational study and, as such, cannot establish the cause, and changes in bath frequency were not analyzed during the control period. The typical style of the Japanese bath also includes shoulder height dive, and this can be a fundamental factor.
But, the researchers say, previously published research has pointed to a link between heat exposure and cardiovascular disease prevention: This is because the effects of heat on the body are no different than those of exercise.
“We found that frequent bathing in the bathtub was significantly associated with lower risk hypertension, suggesting that a beneficial effect of bathing in the bathtub on the risk of cardiovascular disease may be due in part to a lower risk of developing hypertension“The researchers write.
They recognize that taking a hot bath it is not without risksespecially if the temperature is too highwarns Andrew Felix Burden in a linked editorial. “There can be no doubt about the potential dangers of bathing in hot water, and death from this increases with age, as well as with the temperature of the water,” he writes.
Although cardiovascular disease itself is unlikely to be the cause of these deaths, overheating, which leads to losing consciousness and drowning is more likely, he suggests.
“Research is needed on the potential cardiovascular benefit of immersion without heat in warm to hot water he points out. Meanwhile, caution is needed because of the increased mortality associated with such baths in an unselected population. “