Excessive internet use could be raising your blood pressure, US study finds

The study is believed to be the first to find a link between internet use and high blood pressure

Doug Bolton
Wednesday 07 October 2015 18:04 BST
Could the internet be raising your blood pressure?
Could the internet be raising your blood pressure?

Do you ever find yourself getting angry after someone subtweets you? Or ever feel the rage rising in your body when you read a particularly illiterate YouTube comment?

If so, there might be a medical reason to cut the amount of time you spend online, after American researchers discovered a link between internet use and high blood pressure.

Scientists at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital summarised their findings in a report, which says teenagers who spend more than 14 hours a week on the internet are more susceptible to "elevated blood pressure".

Out of 134 teenage heavy internet users, 26 were found to have elevated blood pressure - far higher than the normal rate.

The study is believed to be the first to show a link between time spent on the Internet and high blood pressure, and adds to growing research that suggests correlations between heavy internet use and health problems, which can include anxiety, depression, obesity and social isolation.

Another statistic in the report showed that 43 per cent of heavy internet users were considered overweight, compared to 26 per cent of light internet users.

It's not clear whether excessive use of the internet causes us to sit around all day and get unfit, or whether those with an existing sedentary lifestyle just tend to spend more time on the internet, but one thing's clear - constant internet use isn't good for anyone.

Andrea Cassidy-Bushrow, the lead author of the study and researcher at Henry Ford's Department of Public Health Sciences thinks moderation is key.

She said: "It's important that young people take regular breaks from their computer or smartphone, and engage in some form of physical activity. I recommend to parents they limit their childrens' time at home on the internet. I think two hours a day, five days a week is a good rule of thumb."

She said that the findings could be important to school nurses or paediatricians who are monitoring the health of young people - possibly assessing their patients' levels of internet use to better understand their health.

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