Using a mobile phone to talk can increase the risk of high blood pressure by up to 12%, scientists say. Depending on the duration of the conversations, the risk may be lower or higher.
Over three-quarters of people in the world over the age of 10 own a mobile phone. Phones emit low levels of radio waves. It has been found that there is a link between these waves and an increase in blood pressure after exposure to the waves.
Hypertension is another name for a condition of high blood pressure. In this condition, the blood in the arteries moves under pressure that is higher than normal. The presence of hypertension damages the blood vessels, thereby increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack and diseases of the cardiovascular system. Over 1 billion people between the ages of 30 and 79 have high blood pressure.
The study, presented in the European Heart Journal – Digital Health, took data on phone use from a database of more than 200,000 volunteers without hypertension. They completed a survey about their weekly mobile device usage, as well as yearly.
The average age of the participants was 54 years, and 88% of them used their mobile phone to receive or make calls at least once a week. The study found that when the same participants were asked again 12 years later, mobile device users had a 7% higher risk of high blood pressure.
Proportionality was also found between the time spent talking and the risk of hypertension. Those who spent between 30 and 60 minutes talking on the phone in a week had an 8% increased risk of hypertension. Spending between 1 and 3 hours talking was associated with a 13% increased risk, and between 4 and 6 hours with a 16% increased risk. More than 6 hours of time spent on the phone talking increases the risk of hypertension by 25%.
Hypertension can be caused by many other factors, which include genetic traits that predispose to high blood pressure. The scientists included this factor in their study and found that if someone is genetically predisposed to high blood pressure and at the same time spends more than 30 minutes a week on the phone, they will have a 33% increased risk of hypertension.
Professor Xianhui Chin, from Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, is the lead author of the study. She says: “Our results show that talking on a mobile phone may not affect the risk of high blood pressure as long as weekly talk time is less than half an hour. Further research is needed to replicate the results, but until then it seems reasonable to keep cell phone conversations to a minimum to preserve heart health.”
European Society of Cardiology. (2023, May 4) Mobile phone calls linked with increased risk of high blood pressure. Retrieved 2023, May 5 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2023-05-mobile-linked-high-blood-pressure.html
Qin, X. (2023, May 4) Mobile phone calls, genetic susceptibility, and new-onset hypertension: results from 212,046 UK Biobank participants. Retrieved 2023, May 5 from https://doi.org/10.1093/ehjdh/ztad024
Note: The material is informative and cannot replace consultation with a doctor. Before starting treatment, you must consult a doctor.
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