Just half an hour of cell phone conversations per week increases risk of high blood pressure, scientists say

Just half an hour of cell phone conversations per week increases risk of high blood pressure, scientists say

  • Chinese team finds regular calls are most at risk hypertension
  • They analyzed more than 200,000 British adults looking at their phone use.

We all enjoy talking on the phone with family and friends.

But calls must be kept to a minimum to keep blood pressure low and our hearts healthy, experts warn.

That’s because a new study suggests that talking on your cell phone for just half an hour a week is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure.

And regular callers who spend an hour a day on the phone were at the highest risk of developing the disease.

A team from the Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, wanted to find out if there was a link between making and receiving phone calls and a new diagnosis of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

Phone calls should be kept to a minimum to keep our blood pressure low and our hearts healthy, experts warn.

Phone calls should be kept to a minimum to keep our blood pressure low and our hearts healthy, experts warn.

They analyzed data on more than 200,000 British adults and collected information on their mobile phone use through a questionnaire.

These included questions about how many years they use a mobile phone, how many hours per week they spend on it, and whether they use a speakerphone or speakerphone.

Over 12 years of follow-up, they found that participants who talked on their cell phones for 30 minutes or more per week were 12% more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who spent less time on phone calls.

That’s the equivalent of talking on the phone for just four minutes and 17 seconds a day.

Looking at the results in more detail, they found that people who spent more than six hours on the phone each week had a 25 percent higher risk of high blood pressure compared to those who spent less than five minutes on the phone or answering the phone.

The number of years participants used a mobile phone or whether they used a hands-free device did not appear to affect the level of risk.

Professor Xianhui Qin, one of the authors of the study, said: “For heart health, the number of minutes that people spend talking on a mobile phone is important, and the more minutes, the higher the risk.”

“Our results show that talking on a cell phone may not affect the risk of developing high blood pressure if the talk time per week is less than half an hour.

“More studies are needed to replicate the results, but until then, it seems reasonable to minimize cell phone calls to preserve heart health.”

It is estimated that just over a quarter of adults in the UK, about 14.4 million people, have high blood pressure.

The condition can damage the arteries, making them less elastic, which reduces the flow of blood and oxygen and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

The link between mobile phone use and high blood pressure may be due to low levels of RF energy emitted by the devices, the researchers said.

However, previous studies on the same topic had mixed results, perhaps because they included calls, texts and games, they added.

In an article for the European Heart Journal – Digital Health, the team said: “In recent years, mobile phones have become a device of daily life around the world.

“This raises important questions about the safety of using a mobile phone to make or receive calls, especially for active users.

“Our study provides some new insights. Cell phone use to make or receive calls was associated with a significantly higher risk of developing hypertension, especially in those who use it longer per week.”


High blood pressure or hypertension rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if left untreated, it increases the risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

More than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many do not realize it.

The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked.

Blood pressure is written in two digits. Systolic pressure (the higher number) is the force with which your heart pumps blood throughout your body.

Diastolic pressure (bottom number) is the resistance to blood flow in the vessels. They are both measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

As a general guide:

  • high blood pressure is considered 140/90 mmHg. or higher
  • ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60 mmHg. and 120/80 mm Hg.
  • low blood pressure is considered 90/60 mm Hg. or below
  • Blood pressure readings between 120/80 mmHg and 140/90 mm Hg. may mean you are at risk of developing high blood pressure if you don’t take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.

If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra stress on your blood vessels, heart, and other organs like your brain, kidneys, and eyes.

Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of developing a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as:

  • heart disease
  • heart attacks
  • blows
  • heart failure
  • peripheral arterial disease
  • aortic aneurysms
  • kidney disease
  • vascular dementia

Source: NHS