Cardiac arrest in the bathroom

Why do people get cardiac arrest in the bathroom often?

One of the studies has shown that there is a rapid increase in bathing death accidents. The results identified cardiovascular diseases as the leading cause. Today, we thought to share why people would often experience a cardiac arrest in the bathroom.

The study further mentioned that the causes of death were followed by cerebrovascular and respiratory diseases as well.

Cardiac events or stroke are considered the world’s biggest killers. Going through, we need to understand the basic difference between these events first;

Heart Attack

It is a circulatory problem that occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. A heart attack could be due to blockage of an artery that supplies blood to an area of your heart. Know more about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.

Cardiac Arrest

An electrical problem occurs when the heart malfunctions lead to an irregular heartbeat or may stop beating unexpectedly. This prevents the heart from pumping the blood to the other parts of the body, including the brain. As the muscles won’t expand and contract, the blood won’t flow.

Heart attack and cardiac arrest are linked to each other. A sudden cardiac arrest can happen after a heart attack.


When blood flows to an area of the brain cut-off; hence, brain cells are deprived of the oxygen and glucose needed to survive. It is a brain attack.

Stroke or heart attack or cardiac arrest in the bathroom

The morning may be the most dangerous time of the day for older people with high blood pressure. Usually, we use the toilet and take a bath in the morning.

While bathing, we need to take care of several things like the water temperature, sequenced bathing, and the season should be on the count.


Water temperature matters a lot while bathing. The difference in temperature in the bathtub and body could cause abrupt changes in blood pressure. It may lead to hypo-or-hyperthermia.

Hypothermia – It is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature.

Hyperthermia or overheating is a condition where an individual’s body temperature is elevated beyond normal due to failed thermoregulation.

Bathing is suspected of causing abrupt changes in blood pressure that induce ischemia in the cerebral blood vessels. This could drive a stroke or heart attack, or a cardiac arrest in the bathroom or toilet.

Sudden cold water exposure increases sympathetic tone, which further causing a rapid fall in skin temperature. It leads to rising blood pressure. A person with a history of high blood pressure or myocardial infarction must be careful about bathing.

The wrong sequence of Bath

“While bathing or showering, do not wet the head and hair first. This is the wrong sequence.” writes a professor at UiTM National Sports Board.

Sequenced bathing is essential to avoid such incidences. Start with wetting your legs and up to your head gently. Know further about sequenced bathing in detail.

Seasonal conditions

Frequently, incidences of stroke or heart attack, or cardiac arrest in the bathroom happen more in winter than in summer.

Taking a hot bath on a cold day may trigger trouble for the cardiovascular system. It is still unclear that getting into hot water on a freezing day causes a rapid blood pressure drop, which is stressful for the heart.

Must read – Why heart attacks are common in the morning.

Thermal shock – The deaths increased in winter months when older people moved from warmer parts of their house to the bathroom, often going into thermal shock. It is found that the rate of cardiac arrests in the bathroom rising ten-fold from summer to winter (1).

Slipping in the bathroom is also quite common. When someone slips, the head is hit to the floor or tub, and they suffer bleeding in the brain.

Stroke or heart attack or cardiac arrest in the toilet

There are many instances of death occurring in the toilet due to cardiac arrest. A sudden drop in blood pressure due to toilet strain or inappropriate sitting posture is observed.

Several studies have linked this drop to more pressure on the parasympathetic nervous system as well. Let us look into details.

The Toilet Strain

If there’s any danger between man and toilet, it is in the strain. And the excessive straining during defecation weakens the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor.

Dr. Satish S.C. Rao, director of Neurogastroenterology and motility at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, says, “Just sitting is not harmful. It’s the effort and straining for long periods of time—that is where the harm comes.”

Such excessive strain during defecation adversely affects the cardiovascular system. It could result in syncope or sudden death. Syncope (fainting) is a temporary loss of consciousness usually related to insufficient blood flow to the heart.

Toilet strain or straining on the stool may reduce your blood pressure. This leads to an insufficient blood supply to the heart and may often trigger cardiac arrest in the bathroom or toilet.

One of the worst-case scenarios from excessive straining is called internal rectal prolapse. This is a condition in which the rectum’s lining actually comes out through the anus (2).

A normal bowel movement should start with an urge to poop (good so far), followed by an average of five minutes of defecation with little straining. Problems begin occurring once a person has been straining for 10 minutes or longer.

Chronic constipation has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular events (heart attack, stroke, sudden cardiac death).

Sitting posture in toilet

The cardiac events that occur during defecation are, in many cases, the result of using the (unnatural) sitting posture for waste elimination. Intensive and repeated Valsalva Manoeuvres are needed for emptying the bowels in a sitting position. In fact, VM was found to be a triggering event.

We, humans, are optimally designed to poop in the squatting position. However, with globalization came the toilets that required people to sit comfortably rather than squat.

For many years, experts have started pointing out the western toilet position’s harms on our digestive system. Using a sitting toilet triggers the risk more than a squatting toilet as it requires more strain.

Various studies have pointed out how western toilets cause constipation, hemorrhoids, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), appendicitis, and even heart attacks or cardiovascular events like cardiac arrest (3).

Abrupt changes in Blood pressure

Blood pressure (BP) follows a daily pattern. It is normally lower at night while you are sleeping and starts to rise a few hours before waking up. This rise in BP continues during the day, usually peaking in the middle of the afternoon. By late afternoon or evening, your BP would begin to drop again.

Must read – Hypertension: Beware of this silent killer.

In the morning, the body releases certain hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones give you energy boosts but can also raise your BP. This morning increase in BP is usually seen between 6 am and noon.

Hence, when you first wake up in the morning, blood pressure (BP) increases due to the body’s normal circadian rhythm. One of them is a morning surge in BP (also known as morning hypertension), which results in an increased risk of damage to the brain, heart, and kidneys.

Suggested read – How to hold your pee if no bathroom insight

In the nutshell

Events like stroke or Heart Attack, or Cardiac arrest can happen to anybody anywhere at any time. It’s good that everyone is familiar with heart attack signs, stroke, and cardiac arrest.

Also, it is surely found that blood pressure plays a critical role in all these events. Get some natural ideas to manage blood pressure here.

Finally, making basic lifestyle changes is the most effective way to prevent cardiac arrest or heart attack or stroke events.

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