HomeLifestyleHealth & FitnessThis May Be A More Significant Factor For New-onset Hypertension Than Diet,...

This May Be A More Significant Factor For New-onset Hypertension Than Diet, Alcohol, Smoking or Genetics, According to New Study

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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a prevalent condition that affects the body’s arteries. When blood pressure consistently exceeds 130/80 mm Hg, it is considered hypertension. In severe cases where blood pressure is higher than 180/120 mm Hg, it can cause a hypertensive emergency or crisis, requiring immediate medical attention.

If left untreated, high blood pressure can significantly increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other serious health problems. Experts recommend having blood pressure checked at least every two years from the age of 18, with some people requiring more frequent checks.

Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet, excessive salt intake, low potassium levels, and stress have been widely recognized as risk factors for high blood pressure.

However, a recent study published in the European Heart Journal has revealed a new risk factor that may increase the likelihood of developing high blood pressure by almost 25%.

The study says that talking on a mobile phone for more than 30 minutes per week is associated with a 12% higher risk of developing high blood pressure compared to those who talk on their phones for less than 30 minutes.

“It’s the number of minutes people spend talking on a mobile that matter,” remarks study author Xianhui Qin, “for heart health, with more minutes meaning greater risk.

According to the study, the duration of usage or utilization of a hands-free setup did not have any impact on the chances of developing high blood pressure.

“More studies are needed to confirm the findings,” the author adds.

Nearly three-quarters of the global population aged 10 and over own a mobile phone, while approximately 1.3 billion adults between 30 and 79 years of age worldwide have high blood pressure.

Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke, as well as a leading cause of premature death worldwide.

Previous studies examining the link between mobile phone use and blood pressure have produced inconsistent results, possibly because they included various activities such as texting, gaming, and calls.

This study focused solely on the relationship between making and receiving phone calls and new-onset hypertension, using data from the UK Biobank. The study included 212,046 adults between the ages of 37 and 73 without hypertension. Participants were asked to complete a self-reported touchscreen questionnaire that included information on mobile phone use, such as years of use, hours per week, and use of hands-free devices or speakerphone. Those who used a mobile phone to make or receive calls at least once a week were classified as mobile phone users.

The researchers analyzed the relationship between mobile phone usage and new-onset hypertension, while also taking into account various factors such as age, sex, race, education, smoking status, blood pressure, and medication use to lower cholesterol or blood glucose levels, among others.

The study enrolled individuals with an average age of 54 years, of which 62% were women and 88% were mobile phone users. The study followed up with participants for a median duration of 12 years, during which 13,984 (7%) participants were diagnosed with hypertension. The findings showed that mobile phone users had a 7% higher risk of developing hypertension than non-users. Additionally, participants who spent 30 minutes or more on phone calls per week had a 12% higher likelihood of developing new-onset hypertension than those who spent less time on phone calls. The study’s results were consistent across both genders.

A closer examination of the study’s results revealed that individuals who spent less than five minutes per week making or receiving mobile phone calls had a lower risk of high blood pressure. Conversely, those who spent 30-59 minutes, 1-3 hours, 4-6 hours, and more than 6 hours per week on mobile phone usage had an 8%, 13%, 16%, and 25% higher risk of developing high blood pressure, respectively. Interestingly, the duration of mobile phone use and the use of hands-free devices or speakerphones were not significantly associated with hypertension among mobile phone users.

The study also investigated the correlation between usage duration (less than 30 minutes versus 30 minutes or more) and new-onset hypertension among participants with low, intermediate, or high genetic risk of developing hypertension. The researchers determined genetic risk using data from the UK Biobank. The findings revealed that individuals with high genetic risk who spent at least 30 minutes per week on their mobile phone had a 33% greater likelihood of developing hypertension compared to those with low genetic risk who talked less than 30 minutes a week.

According to the findings of the study, as explained by Professor Qin, “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.”

Further research is necessary to confirm the findings, but in the meantime, it is advisable to limit mobile phone calls to promote heart health.

Image Credit: Getty

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