By Francis Ugwu
New research from Southern Medical University (SWNS) in Guangzhou, China, has revealed that talking on a mobile phone even if it is for a very short time can raise the risk of high blood pressure, a British news agency reports.
Scientists say blood pressure remains a major cause of heart attacks and strokes.
The research was published on May 5, 2023 in the European Heart Journal – Digital Health, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology.
According to the report, those who spent 30 minutes a week talking — even hands-free — on their cellphones were 12% more at risk to suffer hypertension.
It further disclosed that spending six hours a week chatting on a cell phone raised the risk to 25%.
According to the report, the SWNS team analyzed some 212,000 people from the U.K. Biobank, a database which contains genetic and other health information on half a million British people. Those that were examined were free of hypertension at the outset.
The study included a sample size containing a total of 212,046 adults between the age of 37 to 73 years who were without hypertension. It said they were tracked for an average of 12 years.
The study revealed that participants who spoke on a mobile phone for 30 minutes or more per week had increased risk at 12% when compared to peers who used cell phones less regularly.
Participants with a weekly usage time of 30 to 59 minutes; 1-3 hours; 4-6 hours; and over 6 hours were associated with the corresponding risks of 8%, 13%, 16%, and 25% increased risk, the researchers said.
The study went further to say that the likelihood of developing high blood pressure rose by 33% in those with a high genetic risk who spent at least 30 minutes a week talking on a mobile phone.
Overall, mobile phone users had a 7% higher risk than non-users, the study reported.
Lead author of the research, Professor Xianhui Qin said, “It’s the number of minutes people spend talking on a mobile that matters for heart health, with more minutes meaning greater risk.”
“Years of use or employing a hands-free set-up did not influence the likelihood of developing high blood pressure.”
Regarding the study’s result, Professor Qin said their “findings suggest that talking on a mobile may not affect the risk of developing high blood pressure as long as weekly call time is kept below half an hour.
“Mobile phones emit low levels of radio frequency energy, which has been linked with rises in blood pressure after short-term exposure.
“More research is required to replicate the results, but until then, it seems prudent to keep mobile phone calls to a minimum to preserve heart health.”