Saltwater Pools & Hypertension

Posted by slongcampbell @slongcampbell, Mar 31, 2021

Hello, I am looking for reputable resources on the topic of saltwater pools & hypertension. I have seen conflicting information on this topic. Is there a risk for people with hypertension to swim in or own a saltwater pool? Is there a real concern of sodium absorption through skin this way? I found many blogs on this, however nothing reputable. Appreciate any information on this topic. Thank you

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Hello @slongcambell, Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You would think there would be more information on this topic but like you I couldn't find much. I loved going to the beach in Southern California as a teenager and swimming in the ocean although you definitely feel the need to take a fresh water shower and not let the salt water dry on you. I did find an interesting older study on building salt water pools to improve the health of remote Aboriginal people in Australia.

“Syndrome x: The Silent Plague Threatening the World’s Oldest Culture” by Jeff McMullen on the chronic illnesses threatening Indigenous Australians. Published in Balayi Culture, Law and Colonialism, University of Technology Sydney, May 2005.:
http://media.wix.com/ugd//81f86c_28f4a054c3dd5908aff09c9722cf3ee9.pdf

The article was listed on the authors website – https://www.jeffmcmullen.com.au/2004-2006articles

I original found it with a combination of keyword searches on Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C24&as_vis=1&q=Saltwater+Pools+%26+Hypertension&btnG=

Also found this which I'm thinking you might have already seen – It does make sense but like you, I'm not sure how reputable it is coming from what is mostly an ad in my mind.
———————–
"First of all, from what I’ve read, salt is even not able to be absorbed through the skin. Dissolved salts in water become ions, and ions do not easily pass through cellular membranes or human skin (www.biology.stackexchange.com). So, the concern would only be with consumption of the pool water through the mouth while swimming. Who does that on purpose?

Neither the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute nor the Mayo Clinic make mention of swimming in saltwater increasing the risk of high blood pressure. In fact, the physical activity of swimming, whether it be in chlorinated or salt water, is more likely to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and has other health benefits. In my mind, exercising in the water has benefits that far outweigh the risk of accidentally drinking so much pool water that it would cause hypertension. " — Excerpt from LinkedIn article – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/saline-pools-hypertension-robert-mcdonald/?articleId=6466702152344621056
———————–

I also have hypertension (Primary aldosteronism diagnosis) and have never heard anything about safety and swimming in a salt water pool. Have you asked your doctor for their thoughts based on your condition?

REPLY
@johnbishop

Hello @slongcambell, Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You would think there would be more information on this topic but like you I couldn't find much. I loved going to the beach in Southern California as a teenager and swimming in the ocean although you definitely feel the need to take a fresh water shower and not let the salt water dry on you. I did find an interesting older study on building salt water pools to improve the health of remote Aboriginal people in Australia.

“Syndrome x: The Silent Plague Threatening the World’s Oldest Culture” by Jeff McMullen on the chronic illnesses threatening Indigenous Australians. Published in Balayi Culture, Law and Colonialism, University of Technology Sydney, May 2005.:
http://media.wix.com/ugd//81f86c_28f4a054c3dd5908aff09c9722cf3ee9.pdf

The article was listed on the authors website – https://www.jeffmcmullen.com.au/2004-2006articles

I original found it with a combination of keyword searches on Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C24&as_vis=1&q=Saltwater+Pools+%26+Hypertension&btnG=

Also found this which I'm thinking you might have already seen – It does make sense but like you, I'm not sure how reputable it is coming from what is mostly an ad in my mind.
———————–
"First of all, from what I’ve read, salt is even not able to be absorbed through the skin. Dissolved salts in water become ions, and ions do not easily pass through cellular membranes or human skin (www.biology.stackexchange.com). So, the concern would only be with consumption of the pool water through the mouth while swimming. Who does that on purpose?

Neither the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute nor the Mayo Clinic make mention of swimming in saltwater increasing the risk of high blood pressure. In fact, the physical activity of swimming, whether it be in chlorinated or salt water, is more likely to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and has other health benefits. In my mind, exercising in the water has benefits that far outweigh the risk of accidentally drinking so much pool water that it would cause hypertension. " — Excerpt from LinkedIn article – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/saline-pools-hypertension-robert-mcdonald/?articleId=6466702152344621056
———————–

I also have hypertension (Primary aldosteronism diagnosis) and have never heard anything about safety and swimming in a salt water pool. Have you asked your doctor for their thoughts based on your condition?

Jump to this post

I have asked my physician and he recommended that I discontinue the use of a saltwater pool. He also said salt can be absorbed through the skin. He is a nephrologist.

REPLY
@missbzmail

I have asked my physician and he recommended that I discontinue the use of a saltwater pool. He also said salt can be absorbed through the skin. He is a nephrologist.

Jump to this post

Hi @missbzmail, Welcome to Connect. I haven't made use of a salt water pool and have only been in salt water while swimming in the ocean years ago. I think it's good to listen to your doctor since they know you best. From what I've read, salt absorbed through the skin is different than salt ingested and absorbed through the digestive system. I found this interesting article that sort of explains it but not too clearly for this layman's brain.

"Studies in humans have shown that skin could be a buffer for sodium and that skin sodium could be a marker of hypertension and salt sensitivity. Skin sodium storage could represent an additional system influencing the response to salt load and blood pressure in humans." — Skin Sodium and Hypertension: a Paradigm Shift? – PubMed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6153561/

Do you mind sharing how you found Connect?

REPLY
@missbzmail

I have asked my physician and he recommended that I discontinue the use of a saltwater pool. He also said salt can be absorbed through the skin. He is a nephrologist.

Jump to this post

Why did the nephrologist make this recommendation? I can find no scientific evidence, nor any studies, that indicate salt on the skin can cross any cellular barrier into the body. And I have looked a lot because a swimming pool vendor made the statement and could not support it except by saying "the whole body is connected, so logically…"
The article John cited investigates dietary sodium reaching the skin, but doesn't look at skin sodium being absorbed into the body…
Sue

REPLY
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