MAY 05, 2023 10:00 AM PDT

Talking on the Phone Could Increase Blood Pressure

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

A team of researchers recently published a study that talking on the phone for so many minutes each week could cause an increased risk of having high blood pressure. The study is published in European Heart Journal – Digital Health

Specifically, researchers found that talking on a mobile device for more than 30 minutes each week could increase the risk of high blood pressure by about 12% compared to people who spoke on the phone for less than 30 minutes a week.

This is not the first study to explore the connection between mobile phone usage and high blood pressure; after all, smartphones are ubiquitous around the globe these days, and the number of people worldwide with high blood pressure is well over a billion, a condition that can increase the risk of conditions like stroke or heart disease. It’s been suggested that the low-frequency energy that mobile devices emit could cause a rise in blood pressure, though previous studies have not been able to definitively support this claim (often because these studies included activities other than just talking on the phone, including texting).

Using data from the UK Biobank, researchers included roughly 212,000 people between the ages of 37 and 73 who did not have hypertension at the time. Any participant who used a smartphone at least once a week was considered a mobile phone user. Participants were asked to complete baseline questionnaires about their use of mobile devices, including the time they spent talking on the phone and whether they used a speaker or other hands-free device. Researchers adjusted for a range of other factors affecting health, including sex, race, education, blood glucose levels, and kidney function.

Based on 12 years of follow up data, researchers found that people who were considered mobile phone users (used the phone once a week) were about 7% more likely to develop high blood pressure compared to non-mobile phone users. Users who used the phone for 30 minutes or more a week had a 12% increased risk of high blood pressure.

Ultimately, these results suggest that using a mobile phone may not increase the risk that much. The bigger threat is how much time people spend talking on the phone.

Sources: EurekAlert!; European Heart Journal – Digital Health

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
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