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pubmed: Pitkala K[Author]



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Sauna bathing, health, and quality of life among octogenarian men: the Helsinki Businessmen Study.

Sauna bathing, health, and quality of life among octogenarian men: the Helsinki Businessmen Study.

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2017 Nov 29;:

Authors: Strandberg TE, Strandberg A, Pitkälä K, Benetos A

Abstract
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Sauna-type bathing has increased worldwide, and it has been related to both harmful and beneficial effects. There are few studies of bathing in sauna in very old age.
METHODS: The series consists of 524 mostly home-living survivors of the Helsinki Businessmen Study (HBS, mean age 86 years, range 80-95), who in 2015 responded to a questionnaire survey about lifestyle (including sauna bathing), prevalent diseases, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL, RAND-36).
RESULTS: Of the men 57.6% (n = 302) reported all-year round and 17.6% (n = 92) part-year sauna bathing. Sauna was currently used mostly once a week, but 10% bathed more than twice a week. Median time in the hot room was 15 min at 80 °C. Among 45.7% of the men, the habit had decreased with ageing, and 130 (24.8%) did not attend sauna. However, 92.2% of the latter had discontinued an earlier habit, respective proportions 20.7% and 75.0% among all-year and part-year users. Overall, reasons for decreased sauna bathing were nonspecific or related to mobility problems or diverse health reasons (n = 63). The most frequent motivations for sauna were relaxation and hygienic reasons. Of the RAND-36 domains physical function, vitality, social functioning, and general health were significantly better among sauna users than non-users. These differences partly remained after adjusting for prevalent diseases and mobility-disability.
CONCLUSIONS: Regular sauna bathing was common among octogenarian men and was associated with better HRQoL. However, reverse causality must be taken into account in this cross-sectional study. The bathing habit seemed to be prudent and had decreased in almost half of the cohort.

PMID: 29188579 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]