Talking on a mobile phone can cause a significant rise in systolic blood pressure, the reading that is linked with risks of cardiovascular disease.
Italian researchers at the Guglielmo da Saliceto hospital examined the effect of mobile phone usage on people with mild hypertension checking their blood pressure every minute.
The researchers then called the 94 patients, average age 53, and noted that the blood pressure then jumped from an average of 121/77 to 129/82.
120/80 is considered the upper limit of normal blood pressure for adults.
Receiving a call didn’t affect the heart rate or diastolic blood pressure. And patients who received more than 30 calls a day seemed immune from the spikes in blood pressure. Beta blockers also staved off the spikes.
The doctor leading the research says that it’s not the radio frequency field generated by the mobile phone but the interruption and the noise generated by the phone ringing.
In the UK more than 1 in 4 people have high blood pressure. Although high blood pressure has been seen as a risk factor for strokes and heart attacks it’s now recognised that variations in blood pressure can be just as bad.
As well as people who received more than 30 calls a day, younger people seem less prone to be disturbed by the telephone ringing, perhaps reflecting generational differences in mobile phone usage and their need to be “always on“.