A new study published in the European Heart Journal—Digital Health has found a link between high blood pressure and mobile phone usage.
According to the research, talking on a mobile for 30 minutes or more per week is associated with a 12% increased risk of high blood pressure compared with talking on a mobile for less than 30 minutes.
This study is important because hypertension is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke and a leading cause of premature death worldwide.
Nearly 1.3 billion adults aged 30 to 79 years globally have high blood pressure, so any potential risk factor is worth investigating.
The study used data from the UK Biobank, which included information on the use of a mobile phone to make and receive calls from 212,046 adults aged 37 to 73 years without hypertension.
Participants who used a mobile phone at least once a week to make or receive calls were defined as mobile phone users.
The researchers then analyzed the relationship between mobile phone usage and new-onset hypertension after adjusting for various factors such as age, sex, body mass index, race, deprivation, family history of hypertension, education, smoking status, blood pressure, blood lipids, inflammation, blood glucose, kidney function, and use of medications to lower cholesterol or blood glucose levels.
The results of the study showed that mobile phone users had a 7% higher risk of hypertension compared with non-users.
Those who talked on their mobile for 30 minutes or more per week had a 12% greater likelihood of new-onset high blood pressure than participants who spent less than 30 minutes on phone calls.
The findings were similar for women and men.
Looking at the findings in more detail, the researchers found that compared to participants who spent less than 5 minutes per week making or receiving mobile phone calls, weekly usage time of 30-59 minutes, 1-3 hours, 4-6 hours, and more than 6 hours was associated with an 8%, 13%, 16%, and 25% raised risk of high blood pressure, respectively.
Among mobile phone users, years of use and employing a hands-free device/speakerphone were not significantly related to the development of hypertension.
The researchers also examined the relationship between usage time (less than 30 minutes vs. 30 minutes or more) and new-onset hypertension according to whether participants had a low, intermediate, or high genetic risk of developing hypertension.
Genetic risk was determined using data in the UK Biobank.
The analysis showed that the likelihood of developing high blood pressure was greatest in those with high genetic risk who spent at least 30 minutes a week talking on a mobile—they had a 33% higher likelihood of hypertension compared to those with low genetic risk who spent less than 30 minutes a week on the phone.
While this study suggests a link between mobile phone usage and high blood pressure, the researchers stress that more studies are needed to confirm the findings.
Nevertheless, it may be prudent to keep mobile phone calls to a minimum to preserve heart health, especially for those with a high genetic risk of developing hypertension.
If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies about a safe and more effective way to treat high blood pressure, and many people with high blood pressure may take a drug making it worse.
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about added sugar in your diet linked to higher blood pressure, and results showing vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.
The study was published in the European Heart Journal—Digital Health.
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