We recently took a look at the role of mobile phones in medicine. Mobile phones are playing a key part in improving medical services in third world countries and even advancing medical options in first world nations. However, not all is good when it comes to mobile phones and health – or at least that’s what some people would have you believe. There are a lot of people who think that mobile phones cause a great number of diverse health problems. Whether this is true or not is mostly undetermined but fears about health problems caused by cell phones still have some people worried.
Here is a look at the top ten health problems that some people are worried may be caused by mobile phones:
Despite numerous studies that indicate that there is no conclusive link between cancer and the use of mobile phones, there are a lot of people who continue to express fears that they’ll contract some form of cancer if they use their mobile phones too much. Basically people are concerned that the radiation emitted by phones is causing cancer and various types of tumors. This has been an issue that’s caused a lot of controversy so there are a lot of scientists and medical experts who have looked into it. The World Health Organization has even taken up the cause and concluded that neither cell phones nor their base stations are cancer-causing. Nevertheless, there are things that you can do to reduce your exposure to radiation (like keeping your phone away from the body and using special hands-free devices to talk) that can reduce your risk if this is something that concerns you.
Another issue of major concern that has made a lot of headlines over the years is the concern that mobile phones may be linked to infertility or reduced fertility. One study last year showed that males who kept their cell phones turned on while the phones were in their front pockets were likely to be reducing the quality of their sperm and therefore affecting their fertility. The study turned out to be fairly inconclusive in terms of the long-ranging effect of cell phones on fertility but it certainly was a cause for concern for a lot of guys!
One of the mobile phone health concerns and public safety concerns that actually does have a lot of validity to it is the link between the use of mobile phones and increased likelihood of accidents. The number of car accidents caused by mobile phones is likely to decrease as laws are strengthened to prevent driving while talking or texting. However, people who are talking on their cell phones are more likely to do dumb things like walk into oncoming traffic which poses a serious threat to your health!
4. Cell Phone Elbow
One of the most recent health problems that mobile phones are accused of causing is cubital tunnel syndrome, a condition known more widely as “cell phone elbow“. Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, it is apparently caused by the frequent and repetitive use of the cell phone. It is said that the frequent bending of your elbow to hold your mobile phone to your ear can affect a nerve in your arm that leads to tingling sensations and reduced use of your hands. Less frequent use of your phone, use of your phone’s speaker or a hands-free talking device and switching of your hands when talking on the phone are all ways to combat this rising problem if indeed it really exists.
Several studies have been conducted which look at the relationship between mobile phone use and sleep disorders. A recent study showed that those people who use their mobile phones shortly before going to bed will have a harder time unwinding and falling asleep than those people who put their phones away earlier in the day. A common problem found in people, particularly in teenagers, is that those people who leave their phones on at night will be regularly woken up by calls and texts which interrupts sleep and can cause a number of health problems. The solution to this one is pretty easy, though: turn off your phone at night!
6. Premature Aging
We haven’t heard much about this one in a long time but just a few short years ago there was a big scare that made people worried about the thought that using mobile phones might cause wrinkles and other signs of premature aging. An extensive fifteen-year study into short wave and microwave health impacts was the cause for the scare. It had a lot of people worried for awhile; maybe the worry itself lead to some premature aging!
7. Exacerbating Existing Health Issues
There are some cases in which mobile phones are blamed for exacerbating existing health issues in people with unrelated diseases. The most common example of this is the concern that people with heart problems who have had Pacemakers installed will be affected negatively by the use of mobile phones. Studies seem to indicate that holding a mobile phone directly on top of the chest while using it can cause health problems but normal mobile phone use shouldn’t affect most people with Pacemakers. People with hearing aids and implantable defibrillators also sometimes report interference problems when using mobile phones.
8. Vague Daily Health Problems
There are a lot of vague daily and ongoing health problems that people regularly try to find a cause for and sometimes those people blame the use of mobile phones. Fatigue, weight problems, skin issues and headaches are all examples of vague problems that could have a number of different causes. Some people say that they have electromagnetic sensitivity which results in these types of problems when they are around products and devices such as mobile phones.
9. Mental Health Problems.
Is it possible that cell phones are making us crazy? Some people have reported a number of different symptoms that indicate that mobile phones could be increasing our mental health problems. Decreased attention span, increased anxiety and memory loss are all problems that have been associated with increased mobile phone use. Few of these problems have been proven to actually be linked with mobile phone use though.
10. Affecting Quality of Care from Doctors
Some doctors have reported that they feel that the quality of care that they are able to provide to their patients has decreased with increased cell phone use. This is due to interruptions and lack of focused attention when mobile phones are used by patients during doctor’s appointments. Anyone with decent cell phone etiquette would turn off his mobile phone at the doctor’s though so hopefully this isn’t affecting too many people! As a general rule, modern mobile technology actually allows doctors to provide a higher level of care through reminders and alerts sent to patients’ phones.