In a recent study presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, researchers found that regular heat exposure through a hot bath is linked to lower risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including glycated hemoglobin |(HbA1c), a measure of blood sugar control.
The research was conducted by a team at Kohnodai Hospital in Japan. One author is Dr. Hisayuki Katsuyama.
Previous studies have found that heat therapy, such as the use of saunas and hot-tub bathing, improved blood sugar control and body fat percentage, and thus could be a therapeutic tool in daily life for patients with type 2 diabetes.
In Japan, most residences are fitted with a bath/hot-tub and bathing is a traditional and common life habit.
Thus, the team examined the effect of bathing in Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes.
They obtained the information on the habits of bathing by using a questionnaire from 1,297 patients with type 2 diabetes and studied the association of frequency of bathing with anthropometric measurements and blood test results.
The patients were divided into three groups according to the frequency of bathing as follows; group 1: 4 or more baths per week; group 2: between 1 and 4 baths per week; group 3: less than 1 bath per week.
The team found the mean frequency of bathing was 4.2 times a week and the mean duration of bathing was 16 minutes.
Decreased body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, diastolic blood pressure, and glycated hemoglobin were linked to increased bathing frequency.
The team also found the frequency of bathing was a strong determinant of glycated hemoglobin. Group 1 (with the highest bathing) had a mean HbA1c of 7.10%, group 2 7.20% and group 3 7.36%.
The frequency of hot-tub bathing was also an independent determinant of BMI, with group 1 having the lowest mean BMI (25.5kg/m2) followed by group 2 (26.0) and group 3 (26.7).
Reductions in diastolic blood pressure were also linked to increased bathing frequency after adjusting for age, sex and the number of blood pressure drugs.
These results indicate that daily heat exposure through hot-tub bathing has beneficial influences on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes.