Sudden cardiac arrest and death from cardiovascular disease are the most common causes of death in the general population. Regular bathing significantly reduces mortality from cardiovascular problems. Moreover, studies show that the higher the frequency of visits, the greater the benefit.
Understanding this creates new opportunities for the primary prevention of death from cardiovascular causes and sudden death from cardiac arrest.
Steaming in the bath is not only pleasant, but also useful. The metabolism is accelerated and the body is detoxified, exposure to high temperature improves blood circulation, lowers blood pressure and improves heart function.
All these factors contribute to the reduction of cardiovascular risks and mortality associated with them.
According to studies, visiting the sauna 2-3 times a week reduces cardiovascular risks by 22-27% compared to those who visit the steam room once a week. Those who visit the bath 4 to 7 times a week show even more convincing results – the risk of sudden death from cardiac arrest is reduced by 63%, the risk of death from coronary heart disease is lower by 48%, the risk of death from cardiovascular causes is reduced twice and mortality from all causes is reduced by 40% compared with those who used the sauna once a week. The results are pretty impressive!
Not only the frequency of visits to the steam room per week is important, but also the duration of the procedure. A stay of 10 to 20 minutes results in a 7% reduction in sudden cardiac death, while a session longer than 20 minutes improves this by up to 52%. It is important to note that the results remained unchanged even taking into account the influence of various negative factors – smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, etc.
Thus, the bath is a good means of preventing cardiovascular risks, and regular use of the steam room is associated with a reduced risk of hypertension.
A few words about what processes occur in the body under conditions of high air temperature in the bath. At high temperatures, the risk of protein damage increases and the body must take measures to survive in extreme conditions.
At the cell level, heat stress can damage the structure of proteins, which is unacceptable, because this would lead to a failure of metabolic pathways, oxidative stress and damage to certain parts of the cell, especially mitochondria.
In the process of evolution, the body has developed protective mechanisms to resist such damage, one of which is associated with heat shock proteins, whose task is to control the correct folding of protein molecules under conditions of elevated temperature. (We can observe the effect of the loss of the normal functioning of the protein when the egg is boiled, when the protein acquires a solid structure).
When the temperature rises, the proteins of the human body unfold, losing the correct structure. When the temperature drops, proteins fold, but may not fold properly. Therefore, when the temperature rises, heat shock proteins bind to the unfolded protein and protect it from rapid misfolding.
Some heat shock proteins are a large container inside which the protein has the opportunity to fold normally. If, as a result, the protein still turns out to be folded incorrectly, then the heat shock proteins send it for destruction. That is, autophagy is triggered in this way. Read more about autophagy in the article "Autophagy is a mechanism that increases lifespan".
Heat shock proteins are also present in cells under normal conditions, but their number increases sharply in stressful situations.
Heat shock proteins play an important role in the cardiovascular system. They are involved in the relaxation of blood vessels, in the development and functioning of smooth and skeletal muscles, and also prevent platelet aggregation.
For the prevention of cardiovascular risks, it does not matter which bath to use – a Finnish sauna, a Russian bath, a hammam, a Roman thermal bath or some other. Although all studies are based on the Finnish sauna, the decisive factors are the high air temperature, the frequency and duration of the sauna session.
Another thing is that in Finland there is a home sauna in almost every house, and the inhabitants of this country have the opportunity to devote half an hour every day to take a steam bath. In our country, it is difficult to imagine that every city dweller would go to the bathhouse, and the village dweller would heat the bathhouse more than once a week.
In addition, our compatriots do not associate a bath with something everyday. For most of the population, going to the bathhouse is a whole event, a special hours-long ritual, accompanied by alcoholic drinks, and sometimes a plentiful feast.
But, nevertheless, information about the benefits of the bath to reduce cardiovascular risks and mortality associated with it is provided, and everyone will decide for himself how to dispose of this information.
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