Frequent sauna use protects men against cardiac death

Frequent sauna use protects men against cardiac death

The 20-year follow-up study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland found that men taking a sauna four to seven times a week were 63% less likely to experience a sudden cardiac death than those taking a sauna once a week. Furthermore, the occurrence of death due to coronary artery disease and other cardiac events, as well as overall mortality, were less frequent in the group taking saunas several times a week.


The study involved more than 2,000 middle-aged men living in the eastern part of Finland enrolled in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD). The study participants were divided into three groups: those taking a sauna once a week, those taking a sauna two to three times a week, and those taking a sauna four to seven times a week. The more frequently saunas were taken, the less likely were sudden cardiac deaths, deaths due to coronary artery disease and other cardiac events, as well as deaths due to other reasons.


Moreover, the time spent taking a sauna was linked to the risk of cardiac death. Those who spent more than 19 minutes in the sauna at a time were 52% less likely to experience a sudden cardiac death than those spending only 11 minutes in the sauna at a time. The risk of death due to a cardiac event was also otherwise smaller in those spending longer times in the sauna.


Docent Jari Laukkanen, the study leader, said the mechanisms of why taking a sauna protects the heart are not yet fully understood, and further research is still required. However, taking a sauna may reduce blood pressure and maintain blood vessel elasticity.


* Laukkanen T, et al. Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events. JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 23, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8187





By Ingrid Torjesen,


OnMedica, Thursday 26th February 2015




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