Inflammation, sauna bathing, and all-cause mortality in middle-aged and older Finnish men: a cohort study

Setor K. Kunutsor, Sae Young Jae, Sudhir Kurl, Jussi Kauhanen, Jari A. Laukkanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Inflammation and sauna bathing are each related to the risk of all-cause mortality. The interplay between inflammation, sauna bathing and all-cause mortality is not well understood. We aimed to evaluate the separate and joint associations of inflammation (high sensitivity C-reactive protein, hsCRP) and frequency of sauna bathing (FSB) with all-cause mortality in a cohort of Caucasian men. We used the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Study cohort comprising 2575 men aged 42–61 years at baseline. Serum hsCRP was measured using an immunometric assay and sauna bathing habits were assessed by a self-administered questionnaire. High sensitivity CRP was categorized as normal and high (≤ 3 and > 3 mg/L, respectively) and FSB as low and high (defined as ≤ 2 and 3–7 sessions/week respectively). A total of 1618 deaths occurred during a median follow-up of 27.8 years. Comparing high vs normal hsCRP levels, the multivariable-adjusted HR (95% CI) for all-cause mortality was 1.27 (1.13–1.44). Comparing high vs low FSB, the multivariable-adjusted HR (95% CI) for all-cause mortality was 0.86 (0.76–0.97). Compared with normal hsCRP-low FSB, high hsCRP-low FSB was associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality 1.28 (1.12–1.47), with no evidence of an association for high hsCRP-high FSB and all-cause mortality risk 1.06 (0.81–1.40). Positive additive and multiplicative interactions were found between hsCRP and FSB in relation to mortality. In a general Finnish male population, both hsCRP and FSB are each independently associated with all-cause mortality. However, frequent sauna baths appear to offset the increased all-cause mortality risk related to high hsCRP levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-1231
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Volume37
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • C-reactive protein
  • Cohort study
  • Inflammation
  • Mortality
  • Sauna

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