The person I am inquiring for is my brother-in-law. He had a stroke last year and is doing well, but wants to know if it is OK. Is it safe for someone with high blood pressure to go into a hot tub?
Your brother-in-law needs to ask his doctor about this and any other activities that may be restricted. Chances are, hot tubs will be allowed. But on the off chance that they are contraindicated in your brother-in-law’s case, a mistake could be fatal. Urge him to follow the better-safe-than-sorry rule and give his doctor a call.
There are so many possible variables that might influence whether or not he should take a dip in the hot tub. These include age, co-existing conditions such as heart disease, effects of his stroke, what medications he is taking, whether his high blood pressure is controlled, his fitness level, temperature of the water, length of time spent in the hot tub, alcohol consumption and more.
The American Heart Association says, “Patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) who have no symptoms should tolerate saunas well.” But the organization adds the proviso that people who have chest pain or shortness of breath during moderate exercise should avoid hot tubs and saunas.
Some health experts say that older people with hypertension would be best advised to skip hot tubs completely. Others say that most can enjoy a hot soak safely as long as they limit their time to about 15 minutes and the water temperature to no hotter than about 104 degrees. In theory, the hot water dilates the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. But when the blood pressure is not well controlled, a hot tub might cause sharp fluctuations.