Sunday, March 30, 2014
10 ways your mobile phone is ruining your health
If you’re among those millions of smart phone users who keep fidgeting with it even when it’s not ringing or vibrating, you’re most likely to suffer from this new disease.
According to a report published in the medical journal The Lancet, a 34-year-old female patient in Spain was diagnosed with what they called ‘WhatsAppitis,’ bilateral wrist pain caused by excessive use of the messaging service WhatsApp. The doctor who diagnosed the disease reported that the woman used her mobile to text her family members and friends for a continuous stretch of 6 hours. The next day she got up with severe wrist pain.
This is not the first disease or harmful effect of using mobile phones that has been reported. We all are probably so addicted to our phones that we are unknowingly destroying our health. Here are some health risks of cell phones you should be aware of:
1. Cancer: As reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), mobile phones emit radiofrequency (RF) fields a 1000 times greater than what is emitted from base stations. It’s obvious that this increased emission is likely to have some adverse effect on health of users. Although there is no clear evidence suggesting that exposure to RF fields increases the risk of cancer, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified RF as a possible carcinogen in humans.
2. Sleep disorders: Somehow night-time has always been favourite among regular chatting and gossiping freaks. But do you know that’s the main reason why you are sleep deprived? Several studies have concluded this. One of them is a cohort study by Sara Thomée et alwhich found that high mobile phone use was associated withsleep disorders. Major contributing factors to interrupted sleep pattern are getting awakened in the middle of the night due to mobile rings and vibration and increased use of mobiles post-evening until midnight.
3. Increased accident-risk: Whether you’re an iPhone, flip phone or a Blackberry user, the chances that you check your phone aggressively while travelling is undoubtedly higher. Be it while driving or while crossing the road, mobile phone can be a potential distraction. According to the WHO, we now have a lot of research showing an increased risk of traffic accidents with mobile usage (3-4 times greater).
4. Heart problems: Radiation from cell phones is not only associated with cancer but also with chronic diseases like heart problems. A study published in European Journal of Oncology, radiations emitted by cordless phones, including mobiles, contribute to abnormalities in heart function. Results reported that radiation causes the red blood cells (RBCs) to seep hemoglobin and lead to heart complications.
5. Infertility: Beware men! Your phone can even make you infertile. As of now there’s enough evidence to show that mobile phone radiation decreases sperm count in male rats. To identify whether the same holds true in humans, Wdowiak A and colleagues carried out a research which revealed that the group of men who used mobile phones had a decreased sperm cell count in their semen, leading to infertility.
6. Hearing impairment: Today, every alternate person on the street has earphones plugged in. But that’s not the only reason why hearing loss is increasing in youth and adults. Your mobile radiation is an additional factor that’s making you deaf. Studies report that long-term exposure to electromagnetic (EM) field from cell phones contributes to reducing hearing function. A study by Oktay MF and Dasdag S showed that people who attended phone calls for approximately 2 hours every day were at a higher risk of impaired hearing compared to those who moderate users (10-20 mins).
7. Eye problems: A lot of people use their mobiles to read e-books, do web surfing, etc apart from texting. When you do so, the glaring screen and small font size put a lot of strain on your eyes, especially if you’re reading in the dark. Mobile devices have a smaller screens so you tend squint or open up your eyes wide open and blink lesser number of times. This can cause dry eyes, irritation and reddening.
8. Skin allergies: Most mobile phones have a typical metallic sheen to make them look more attractive. Such phones contain potential skin allergens like nickel, chromium and cobalt which cause cell phone dermatitis. A study by Marcella Aquino and colleagues tested 72 cell phones for the presence of nickel and cobalt. According to the results, about 29.4 per cent of Blackberry models were tested positive for nickel, 90.5 per cent of flip phones were positive for nickel and about 52 per cent of flip phones had cobalt.
9. Infections: How many of you use your phones in the restroom? Here’s a good reason why you shouldn’t. Cell phones not only serve as a home for your valuable data but also carry millions of infectious organisms. A study found that mobile devices are highly contaminated with organisms from fecal origin. They are a niche for several germs like E.coli (known to cause vomiting and diarrhea) and Staphyloccocus aureus(known to cause skin infections).
10. Stress: The general desperate nature of people to be available 24/7 on their mobiles is responsible to their exponentially increasing stress levels.
So, the next time you use your mobile phone incessantly, think again!
1. World Health Organisation (http://www.who.int/)
2. Sara Thomée,corresponding author1 Annika Härenstam,2 and Mats Hagberg1 Mobile phone use and stress, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of depression among young adults –a prospective cohort study
3. Deepinder F1, Makker K, Agarwal A. Cell phones and male infertility: dissecting the relationship.
4. Wdowiak A1, Wdowiak L, Wiktor H. Evaluation of the effect of using mobile phones on male fertility.
5. Oktay MF1, Dasdag S. Effects of intensive and moderate cellular phone use on hearing function.
6. The Lancet (http://www.thelancet.com/)