According to research published this week in European Heart Journal – Digital Health, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), talking on a mobile device for 30 minutes or more per week is associated with a 12% greater risk of high blood pressure compared with less than 30 minutes.
The study’s lead author, Professor Xianhui Qin of Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, warned that talking on a phone for a more extended period carries a higher risk.
The chance of acquiring high blood pressure was unaffected by the number of years of use or using a hands-free setup. The results need to be confirmed by other research.
A mobile phone is owned by over 75 percent of people ten or older. In adults between the ages of 30 and 79, hypertension affects nearly 1.3 billion people worldwide.
A leading global cause of premature death, hypertension poses a significant risk for heart attacks and strokes. Low-level radiofrequency energy from mobile phones has been linked to increases in blood pressure after brief exposure.
Results of prior studies on mobile phone use and blood pressure were inconsistent, presumably because they covered calls, texts, gaming, and so on.
This study investigated the association between new-onset hypertension and phone call frequency.
Data from the UK Biobank were utilized in the study. Two hundred twelve thousand forty-six healthy people between 37 and 73 were included.
A self-reported touchscreen questionnaire was used to gather data on the years of use, the number of hours used each week, and whether or not a hands-free or speakerphone was used when making or receiving calls on a mobile phone.
Mobile phone users were classified as participants who used their phones to make or receive calls at least once per week.
Once an age, sex, body mass index, race, deprivation, family history of hypertension, education, smoking status, blood pressure, blood lipids, and other factors had been considered, the researchers examined the association between mobile phone use and newly developing hypertension.
The participants’ average age was 54, 62% were women, and 88% used mobile phones. 13,984 (7%) participants acquired hypertension throughout a 12-year median follow-up period.
Mobile phone users had a 7% greater incidence of hypertension than non-users.
Compared to individuals who spoke on the phone for less than 30 minutes per week, those who chatted on their mobile devices for 30 minutes or more per week had a 12% higher risk of developing new-onset high blood pressure. Results for both men and women were comparable.
An in-depth analysis of the results revealed that, in comparison to participants who made or received mobile phone calls for less than 5 minutes per week, usage of 30-59 minutes, 1-3 hours, 4-6 hours, and more than 6 hours per week was associated with an 8%, 13%, 16%, and 25% increased risk of high blood pressure, respectively.
Among mobile phone users, years of use and employing a hands-free device/speakerphone were not substantially connected to the development of hypertension.
In addition, the researchers looked at whether participants’ genetic risk for developing hypertension was low, intermediate, or high regarding usage time (less than 30 minutes vs. 30 minutes or more) and new-onset hypertension.
The UK Biobank’s data was used to calculate the genetic risk.
The analysis revealed that those with a high genetic risk who talked on a mobile phone for at least 30 minutes a week had a 33% higher likelihood of developing high blood pressure than those with a low genetic risk who spoke on a mobile phone for less than 30 minutes a week.
According to Professor Qin, our research indicates that as long as weekly call time is kept under 30 minutes, conversing on a mobile device may not increase the risk of having high blood pressure.
While more study is needed to confirm the findings, limiting mobile phone use to protect heart health is advisable until then.