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Stay smart, keep aside smart phone

Mon, Aug 21, 2017, 11:13 AM
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A majority of you are living lives with smart phones. Advanced technology and present day needs will not allow you to keep your smart phone aside. But if you have become an addict, in the sense that you are spending more than two hours on your smart phone daily, be warned. Researchers and doctors worldwide have warned that later on in life, you will have to spend lakhs of rupees in treatment for a number of health-related issues. As smart users let us learn about the bad effects of smart phones.

representational imageSpinal problems
Ask a friend to click a photo of yours, while you are using your smart phone. Keep using your phone as usual. Later, when you look at the picture, you will realise that your head is bent at the neck, over your phone. Keeping the head bent in one angle for long hours, will build pressure on the spine. According to a study by American spine specialist, Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, your head weighs around 4.5 kg to 5.5 kg. By bending the head forward and looking at the smart phone, there is pressure on the neck. When the neck is bent at an angle of 30 degrees, it builds 18 kg of pressure on the spine. At this rate, the discs in the vertebral column will erode over time. Dr. Hansraj's study reveals that you will have to undergo spinal surgeries, even before middle age or old age. He suggests that you should use the smart phone, without bending forward, keeping your spine erect. Also, reduce usage of smart phone as much as possible. Use it minimally, for calls, messages or mails. Use TV or other devices for entertainment.

British Chiropractic Association says that spinal problems have increased in the past few years, because of the use of smart phones among young women and men. According to 2015 census, 45 per cent of the young adults, between 16 years to 24 years of age, are suffering from backaches. Pressure on the spinal discs appears to be the main reason for this.

representational imageDamage to nerves
There are many long term problems that occur due to smart phone usage. Occipital neuralgia is one of them. It is a nerve-related problem. This occurs when the nerves at the top of the spine are inflamed. This leads to headaches, including migraines. There is no cure for this, except taking analgesics and resting. Keeping away from smart phone and doing yoga might help.

representational imageAccidents
Many accidents are occurring due to smart phone users looking at their phones while crossing the road or walking on it. Thousands of people worldwide, are dying or suffering severe injuries in these accidents. Imagine the plight of those who are losing their limbs in these accidents. That is why, it is not safe to use smart phone while on the road or in crowded places. In a recent research in America, it was determined that annually, about 1,500 people are admitted to hospitals, due to accidents while talking on smart phones. Just imagine what the number would be like, in India, where there are 100 crore mobile connections.

Loss of vision
The big damage that is caused due to excessive use of smart phone is loss of vision. Blue light that is emitted from the smart phone damages the efficiency of the retina in the eyes. This increases myopia (short sightedness). This damage is more in those who use smart phone for more than two hours daily. Smart phone's blue violet light has a harmful effect on the retina. Macula that is situated in the centre of the retina begins to degenerate. As such, sight gradually reduces. Central vision is permanently lost, according to American Macular Degeneration Foundation. That is you will fail to see things right in front of you. Only those on the side will be visible.

representational imageHeadaches and burning sensation in the eyes is common among those who use smart phones for a long time. In case of impairment in vision, use the smart phone only for calls and consult a doctor for advice. Or follow the 20-20-20 method. For every 20 minutes, watch things that are at a distance of 20 meters, for 20 seconds. Examining a few cases, that were reported at hospitals in Bengaluru: A 17-year-old girl kept playing games for long hours on her parents' smart phones, leading to impaired vision. Her sight fell from -1.5 to -3. She suffered from red eyes. She had dry eyes, a condition that is normally found in those of 45 years of age and above. Doctors recommended that she should stop using smart phone. Along with change of diet, they also suggested that she should go participate in outdoor activities.In another case, a 32-year-old software engineer approached doctors with severe headache. He is suffering from headaches as well as tiredness of eyes, from the past six months. Doctors detected that he was suffering from dry eyes and pain in eye muscles, due to excessive usage of smart phone and working on the computer. After treatment for a month, he stopped using his smart phone except for calls and recovered.

Sakra World Hospital, Dr. Sirish Nelivigi, revealed that blinking of eyes frequently is very important. This produces water in the eyes. Eyes become dry when eyelids remain open for long periods. This leads to many problems. Narayana Netrelaya vice-chairman, Rohit Shetty said that at least 300 young men and women report dry eyes. "Tear glands (production of tears) are very essential for clarity of vision. When eyes lose moisture and dry up, tear glands will not be able to produce aqueous layer. As such sight is affected," Rohit Shetty says.

representational imageLoss of hearing
Are you listening to music through headphones on your smart phone? According to American National Institute of Deafness, at least 2.6 crore people in that country are suffering due to hearing impairment due to noise. Sound from cell phone headsets is included in this. This will not happen if the volume is less. It occurs if the volume is more than 85 decibels. Fine hair in the ears are damaged when subjected to loud noise.

Radiation
Many studies have proved that cell phone radiation is very harmful. Some others have stated that it is not. However, some 200 medical researchers are creating awareness all over the world that cell phone radiation is harmful to health. Even World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that cell phone radiation harms humans. Some studies have shown that they cause brain cancer, infertility and reduction of moisture in bones. Still studies are being conducted for a fool-proof evidence in this matter. Experts suggest that health can be protected by making calls where there is full signal strength, using speakers instead of keeping phone close to the ear and keeping the phone far away when not in use.

Anxiety
Some continue speaking or using the phone even after coming back home from office. This leads to pressure and anxiety. Doctors warn that it increases blood pressure. Frequently checking the phone for What's App messages or Facebook posts leads to confusion, experts observe.

Sleep disturbances
Usage of smart phone shows bad effects on sleep. Sleep is impossible if you are hooked on to smart phone, lap top or tab, once you get on to bed. A study showed that at least 63 per cent people suffer from sleep problems. The reason is the blue light from smart phone. Usually it is recommended not to consume coffee before going to bed, as the caffeine will keep you awake. But the blue light from smart devices is much more harmful than coffee.

Harvard University researchers conducted experiments exclusively on this. The subjects were exposed to green and blue lights for six hours at a stretch. The results showed that blue light blocked melatonin hormone, two times more than green light. Blue light also delayed sleep by three hours, whereas green light delayed the same by one-and-a-half hour. Melatonin is essential for sleep. It stimulates the brain cells towards sleep.

Bacteria
University of Arizona researchers have observed that there are 10 times more bacteria on a smart phone than on a toilet seat. We clean the toilet basin with a powerful liquid. But how many of you clean your smart phones? Insecticide wipes, without alcohol, are available in medical shops. Phones can be cleaned with them to avoid bacteria.

representational imageIncreases dullness
Doctors say that natural competence of the brain is dulled  due to excess use of smart phone. As a result, there is memory loss. The brain loses its capacity to recall past events. Researchers of University of Waterloo in Canada, studied some 600 subjects. Those who spend less time on their smart phones were more alert and analytical than the rest who spent more time. Researchers also concluded that smart phone users are less inclined towards physical exercise or other tasks. This is due to the addiction to smart phone, they said.

Lack of concentration
Excessive use of smart phones leads to lack of concentration. While studies conducted in the year 2000, state that normal concentration levels are more than 12 seconds, it has decreased to eight seconds, after the advent of smart phones.

Fingers affected
Those who use smart phones for long periods, suffer from aches in the palms, fingers and wrists.

Private data at risk
These days, smart phones are being used for many money-related activities. If by chance your phone is lost or stolen, imagine the scale of loss of all the personal data, social media accounts, bank account details, contacts, personal files, media and more information.

Loneliness, isolation
Another major problem with smart phone is to think that is your world, and spending hours with it, giving up others company. You will like to spend more time online than in the real world. Despite having a family, wife, children, or going to relatives houses or they coming to your house, the time spent with them is limited. The fingers are busy meddling with the smart phone. As such, personal relationships are hampered. A study by researchers of University of Maryland proved that smart phones make users more selfish. Social life and friendliness is reduced. Kindness towards others is reduced.

Affects sexuality
Smart phones have entered bedrooms long ago. With this, people spend less time with partners. There is lack of sleep. Relaxing on the bed with a smart phone becomes common. Interest in sex is lost. There are many who view messages even while having sex.
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