Did you know that just 30 minutes of phone use per week could increase your risk of high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes? Recent research has found that individuals who spend even a short amount of time talking on their phone, even with hands-free devices, may see their risk for hypertension rise by 12%. And if you’re using your phone for more than 6 hours a week, your risk jumps by 25%. These findings may explain why rates of high blood pressure and heart disease have increased by more than double in recent years.
A team of Chinese researchers analyzed the data from more than 212,000 participants aged 30 and above from the UK Biobank. The results of the study found that regular use of mobile phones for at least 30 minutes per week may increase the risk of their blood pressure increasing. The team monitored the participants for 12 years, and their findings showed that weekly phone usage times of thirty to fifty-nine minutes, 1 to 3 hours, 4 -6 hours, and more than 6 hours were all associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure. In comparison, those who spent fewer than 5 minutes per week receiving and making calls had the lowest risk.
The study focused on a group without a history of hypertension and explored their mobile phone usage through a self-reported touchscreen questionnaire. The team collected information on years of use, hours per week, and use of hands-free devices or speakerphones. Participants who used a mobile phone at least once a week to make or receive calls were labeled as “mobile phone users”, comprising 88% of the group. Factors such as BMI, age, race, sex, family history of hypertension, socioeconomic status, education, smoking habits, blood fats, blood pressure, inflammation, kidney function, blood glucose, and medication use to lower cholesterol or blood glucose levels were also examined.
According to the research, individuals who had a higher genetic risk of hypertension who spend up to 30 minutes per week on mobile phone calls have a 33% higher likelihood of developing the condition. Furthermore, compared with non-users, people that used mobile phones have a 7% higher risk of hypertension, which has also been linked to tumors in the brain. Interestingly, the data suggest that keeping weekly call time to below half an hour may not increase the risk of high blood pressure. These findings are relevant to the almost 75% persons globally over the age of 10 owning a mobile phone. It is significant considering that almost 1.3 billion adults from the age 30-79 currently have high blood pressure, in comparison to less than 600 million 50 years ago.
It is believed that the electromagnetic fields emitted by phones may be the culprits behind this phenomenon. Mobile phones emit low levels of radiofrequency energy that may contribute to temporary hikes in blood pressure. However, past studies on the relationship between mobile phone usage and blood pressure have shown inconsistent findings, likely due to the inclusion of factors such as calls, texts, and gaming.
This study highlights the importance of being mindful of our mobile phone usage and its potential effects on our health. Further studies are required to replicate the findings, however, it is advisable to limit the usage of mobile phones as a precautionary measure to sustain cardiovascular well-being.
To view the original scientific study click below:
Mobile phone calls linked with increased risk of high blood pressure