Do Saunas Help Reduce Heart Attack Risk?

Using saunas regularly can be very relaxing. But did you know there are also many therapeutic benefits from using saunas? You probably know that some cultures have used saunas as therapy for thousands of years, and there are good reasons for that.

One of the benefits of sauna use is fewer fatal heart problems. According to the CDC, 1 in every 4 deaths each year is because of heart disease. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women, so it’s great news that saunas may help reduce the risks.

Heart disease has 3 main risk factors:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking

Approximately half of Americans have at least one of those risk factors. Other conditions and lifestyle choices may put you at a higher risk for heart disease. This includes:

  • Being overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

However, according to studies, you can minimize your risk of heart disease by heading over to your local sauna.

The Link Between Saunas and Heart Disease

What is the connection between saunas and heart disease? Researchers found that people who took frequent sauna baths had a lower risk of fatal heart disease. This includes heart attacks and strokes. Participants who used the sauna 4 to 7 times per week for at least 45 minutes each session got the best results.

These results line up with other scientific results.

Finnish researchers found that sauna use is associated with lower mortality rates in general. Spending time in a sauna lowers blood pressure so it’s good for the blood vessels, too. Scientists also proved that it’s beneficial to people with heart disease risk factors (like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes).

What about the Warnings?

The research into saunas and heart attacks is encouraging. However, you may see warning signs when you visit a sauna, saying that people with heart conditions should avoid going in.

You should speak with your doctor first if you’ve had a recent heart attack or another heart condition. As the research stated above, saunas are generally safe for people with heart problems. But double-checking with your medical provider can’t hurt.

Additionally, you should make sure not to overdo it. Don’t spend too much time in a sauna all at once. Take care to stay hydrated, and never drink alcohol before sauna use.

Where to Start?

Unfortunately, Americans may have trouble finding a sauna near them. Saunas are not necessarily as commonplace as they are in European countries. Your best bet is to head to your local spa or gym. Alternatively, you can always shoulder the expense to have one installed at home.