According to research, talking on a mobile device for half an hour or more every week is associated with a 12% increase in high blood pressure risk in comparison to talking less than half an hour.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
It’s the number of minutes that are spent talking on a mobile device that makes a difference for heart health, with more minutes indicating greater risk. Years of use or making use of a hands-free set-up had no impact on high blood pressure risk.
Approximately 3-quarters of the worldwide population over the age of 10 own a mobile phone. Approximately 1.3 billion individuals between the ages of 30 and 79 years around the world have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for stroke and heart attack and a major cause of premature death.
Mobile phone devices give off low radiofrequency energy levels, which has been associated with an increase in blood pressure following short-term exposure. Previous research on the use of mobile phones and blood pressure has produced inconsistent results, possibly because they included gaming, texts, etc.
This study looked at the connection between the making and receiving of cell phone calls and new-onset hypertension. Data from the UK Biobank was used and a total of 212,046 individuals between the ages of 37 and 73 years without high blood pressure were included.
Information on mobile phone use for making and receiving calls was collected by using a self-reported questionnaire at baseline, which included hours used each week, years of use, and making use of a speakerphone/hands-free device. Individuals who made use of a mobile phone a minimum of once each week for making or receiving calls were identified as users of mobile phones.
The connection between using mobile phones and new-onset hypertension was analyzed after adjusting for sex, age, race, BMI, family history of hypertension, deprivation, smoking status, education, kidney function, blood lipids, blood pressure, blood glucose, inflammation, and use of drugs to reduce levels of blood glucose or cholesterol.
The age of individuals was 54 years on average, 62% were women and 88% were users of mobile phones. During a follow-up of 12 years on average, 13,984 individuals developed high blood pressure. Users of mobile phones had a 7% higher hypertension risk in comparison to non-users.
Individuals talking on their mobile phones for half an hour or more each week had a 12% higher risk of new-onset hypertension compared to individuals who talked less than half an hour. The results were similar for men and women.
Exploring the results in more detail, in comparison to individuals who made or received mobile phone calls for less than 5 minutes each week, a weekly usage time of between 30 and 59 minutes, 1 and 3 hours, 4 and 6 hours, and over 6 hours were linked to an 8%, 13%, 16% and 25% increased risk of hypertension. Among users of mobile phones, years of use and making use of a speakerphone/hands-free device weren’t significantly associated with high blood pressure risk.
The researchers also looked at the connection between usage time of less than half an hour vs. half an hour or more and new-onset hypertension based on whether individuals had a low, intermediate, or high genetic hypertension risk. Genetic risk was established by making use of data from the UK Biobank.
The analysis revealed that the chance of developing hypertension was highest in people with high genetic risk who talked on a mobile for a minimum of half an hour each week talking, they had a 33% greater chance of hypertension in comparison to individuals with low genetic risk who talked on the phone for less than half an hour each week.
The results suggest that talking on a mobile couldn’t affect the risk of hypertension provided that weekly call time stays at less than 30 minutes.