Relaxing in a hot tub is a great way to melt stress away. It can also work wonders for muscle aches and pains. The great thing about a hot tub is that you can use it year-round, indoors or out. However, there are some precautions everyone needs to be aware of, especially if you suffer from a health condition such as diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, then you know that even some things that are considered healthy are not exactly good for you. However, Diabetestalk.net points out that hot tubs can have some incredible benefits for diabetics. Dr. Philip L. Hooper of McKee Medical Center in Loveland, Colorado, conducted a study of patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Each patient used a hot tub for 30-minute sessions six days a week for three weeks. At the end of the study, he noted dramatic drops in their glucose levels by at least 13%.
However, there are some things that are important precautions to take before stepping into that warm, swirling water. The one thing to keep in mind if you don’t remember anything else is that old saying, “Always swim with a buddy.” Never use a hot tub alone! Things can escalate quickly when the water temperature is high, and if you have a health condition, using a hot tub by yourself is a recipe for disaster.
According to Dealingwithdiabetes.org, there are some essential things to keep in mind if you plan to use a hot tub and have been diagnosed with diabetes.
When you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is essential to be aware of and monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. Doing so will help manage the disease and minimize symptoms. What many people are unaware of is that hot tubs can affect blood sugar levels. Glucose levels can drop quickly while soaking in hot water, and for some, it can cause these levels to increase. The body's response to heat can affect the absorption of insulin and can cause this change in blood sugar levels. This is why it is essential to do a glucose check before and after using a hot tub.
The correlation between dehydration and high glucose levels can almost be read like a math problem. The water in a hot tub is...well... it's hot! The body responds to heat by sweating as a defense mechanism against becoming overheated. When we sweat, we lose a lot of moisture in our bodies, which can lead to dehydration. Being dehydrated can impact blood sugar, and if you do the math, it will spike glucose levels. Make sure to drink a lot of water before, during, and after using a hot tub to stay hydrated. Also, since alcohol and caffeine cause dehydration, it is best to avoid both completely while using a hot tub.
Every person with diabetes knows that diabetes can lead to neuropathy. This type of nerve damage impairs sensation in the extremities and can cause impairment of the organs and glands. Warm water increases the risk of infections, so if you have diabetes, before entering a hot tub, make sure to inspect your skin thoroughly for any cuts. Clean and protect any wound to prevent infections.
Diabetic neuropathy desensitizes the nerve endings, which can affect how one perceives temperature. This means that it can be difficult to know if the water temperature is too hot, leading to burns and infections. Use a thermometer to test the water with your elbow, or have someone else test the water with their hand or foot before entering. Avoid extremely hot temperatures to prevent burns.
Too much time in a hot tub can cause issues for everyone, but it is especially problematic for someone with diabetes. Ask your doctor how long you should spend in a hot tub to avoid potential complications. Some health experts recommend staying in for 10-15 minutes at a time at most.
We already spoke about talking to your doctor, and this is really a great rule of thumb for anyone diagnosed with diabetes. A healthcare provider can offer personalized advice based on your health condition, medications, and potential risks associated with using a hot tub.
A common myth is that hot water kills germs. While that is true in some cases, a hot tub that is not properly maintained and cleaned regularly can be a haven for germs. If you have diabetes, you can be at a higher risk of developing infections and complications. Maintaining good hygiene in the hot tub is essential to avoid any skin-related issues.
You have most likely heard the term, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." It is important to know the signs of low or high blood sugar levels and what to do in case of such a situation. Have glucose tablets or snacks nearby in case of a hypoglycemic event. Always tell someone nearby about your condition in case of an emergency.
By being cautious, staying informed, and monitoring your body's response, those with diabetes can safely enjoy the soothing benefits of a hot tub. Follow these safety guidelines to minimize the risk of accidents or health issues.
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Linda Guerrera has been the Digital Content Manager for Health Products For You since 2022. A recipient of the New York State Broadcasters Award for Outstanding Work in Radio, she spent over ...
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