From Chelan, Washington, USA:
My 71 year old grandmother, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about one and a half years ago, has a friend whose husband had diabetes and tries to give her advice. Recently, she told my grandmother that she shouldn't get into a hot tub because she has diabetes, but didn't explain why. Is it really true that persons with diabetes shouldn't sit in a hot tub or whirlpool? If so, for what reason(s)?
Several issues about hot tub use are important to people with diabetes. First, the heat will induce orthostatic hypotension in people on large doses of blood pressure medications and in those individuals who already have autonomic neuropathy. This form of neuropathy already makes individuals at risk for low blood pressure when they stand up. The body will have difficulty dissipating heat when the nervous system is not working correctly.
In addition, there is always the risk of burn to extremities when the individual cannot feel the correct temperature of the water. There may some effect on insulin absorption if the person uses insulin. Heating up the skin may increase the rate of absorption and make the insulin rapidly absorbed.
Original posting 23 Nov 2001
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