There are a lot of ways that talking can get you into trouble, but here's a new one: It can raise your blood pressure. A University of Maryland study finds that speaking raised the blood pressure of nearly 600 people by an average of 10 to 20 percent, indicating that yakking may have a role in hypertension not previously known. The participants, who ranged from infants to more than 80 years old, were tested with a new automated blood pressure device at the University of Maryland's psychophysiological clinic. Psychologist James Lynch said 98 percent of the subjects tested showed increases in blood pressure when they spoke. The same response was also noticed when deaf people communicated by sign language or when babies cried, he said. Blood pressure increased between 10 percent and 50 percent and on the average of between 10 percent and 20 percent, Lynch said. The study indicates that more people would be diagnosed as hypertensive if they spoke while being tested, he said. It also means that the nation's 23 million hypertensive people have even higher blood pressure when they talk. "The higher the baseline pressure, the more pressure goes up when you speak," he said. Patients normally remain silent when their blood pressure is checked so the doctor can listen to the pulse with a stethoscope. However, the new computerized equipment used at the University of Maryland Hospital automatically recorded blood pressure and heart beat, allowing patients to speak. Doctors have traditionally thought that emotion was an important factor in raising blood pressure. "At first, we thought it was feelings," Lynch said. "We didn't realize it was also talking." Patients with high blood pressure are counseled to speak at a slower pace and breathe slowly, particularly when they are talking about an upsetting subject, Lynch said.