Incredibly, over 90 percent of adults in America now use a cell phone. And it’s not just younger folks anymore. The experts say 42 percent of American’s over the age of 65 are now the proud owner of a smartphone as well.
We’ve come to rely on them for everything from managing our schedules to keeping up with the grandkids. Some of us even use them to control our televisions and turn our lights on and off.
When I was struggling to make a decision and asked mine to “flip a coin” the other day I realized just how ingrained it has become in my own life.
Yet, as much as we all love our smartphones, until recently they hadn’t been around long enough for researchers to understand their long-term health implications. In fact, we’re just now beginning to learn what consequences our reliance on cell phones could have.
WARNING: Cancer cell phone connection and other hazards
Following are five health hazards your favorite piece of modern life may pose. And while you may have already begun to suspect the cancer cell phone connection, some of the others may be completely unexpected.
Keep reading to find out what they are, and how to reduce your risk…
1. Cancer links confirmed:
There was a time, not long ago, when if you dared to mention a concern about a cancer cell phone connection you’d be labeled a kook. Well those times are long past. The evidence that heavy smartphone use can raise your risk of certain cancers is growing by the day.
You see, you cellphone emits a specific type of radiation that’s been declared “possibly carcinogenic” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC. And one early study conducted by a branch of the National Institute of Health revealed why this should have all of us concerned.
The researchers exposed rodents to this same type of radiation in amounts equal to those emitted by cell phones. And the results were troubling, to say the least. The critters which were zapped with the cell-phone type radiation began to develop cancer at measurably higher rates than those which were never exposed.
And while we need more study, and the evidence for a cancer cell phone connection is complicated, even the Feds are taking it seriously.
The FDA has issued guidelines about how to minimize cell phone exposure. And they just happen to match what many of us who have been sounding the alarm for years now have been recommending.
- use a landline whenever possible
- keep cell phone conversations short (we suggest texting more often)
- use a hands-free device or headset for longer calls
I suggest you try texting more often. (The more you do it the easier it becomes, I promise.) Also, starting tonight stop keeping your cell phone near your bed at night. And if you use an earpiece with your phone remember to remove it whenever you’re not on a call.
Most of us aren’t going to be ditching our smartphones anytime soon. But one thing experts seem to be able to agree on is that length and strength of exposure will be the biggest factor in whether or not there is a cancer cell phone connection.
So doing your best to reduce your time on the phone, and cutting back on how often you hold it to your ear, could help reduce your risks.
2. Interference with medical devices:
A few years back worrying about whether or not a smartphone could interfere with your pacemaker or implanted defibrillator would earn you a strange look and a tinfoil hat. Not anymore.
According to research out of Germany, when cell phones get too close to an implanted medical device, the device may read the radiation emitted incorrectly. And this can lead to skipped beats or even cause the device to send out unnecessary electrical shocks.
The good news is that it’s a rare occurrence, and easy to avoid. The key is to keep your cell phone away from your heart or device. Which simply means no carrying it in your coat or breast pocket, and you should be fine.
3. “Text neck” is a real thing:
Just the sound of it makes you want to giggle. But “text neck” is very real and it’s very painful. Trust me when I say it’s nothing to laugh about.
Doctors say our obsession with staying connected all the time can do some serious damage to our neck and spine. They’ve dubbed it “text neck,” but the potential damage (and pain it causes) can include your neck, shoulders and upper back.
Most people gaze down and hunch over when they’re looking at their phones to read something or to type a text message. And now that we rely on our smartphones so heavily, it’s happening often enough to be causing alignment issues and muscle pain.
So if you find that your neck, shoulders or upper back have started aching “for no reason” it’s time to take stock of how much time you’re spending doubled over peering at your cell phone screen. Try switching up and holding your phone at eye level, rather than lowering your eyes to your phone. It will feel strange at first, but keep it up until it becomes second nature.
And remember to put the phone down occasionally too. The less time we spend on them the less likely we are to develop text neck.
4. Overworking your joints:
If you’re like most folks, you write text messages with your thumbs. And chances are you’re beginning to feel it too.
As unlikely as it seems, texting is contributing to a form of tendinitis that used to crop up only if you had a job that made you repeatedly do a single task. Folks who worked in factories or typed for a living, for example, were at risk.
Now any of us who text a lot could develop it as well. And experts warn it’s leading to higher rates of arthritis.
Cutting back on your texting can help. But when you still need to text try switching things up. Force yourself to use your forefingers as often as your thumbs, for example. And when you aren’t texting try some gentle hand and finger stretches to keep your joints limber.
5. Deadly distractions:
You know you shouldn’t text and drive, so you’re probably not surprised to hear that more than 25 percent of all car accidents are connected to cell phones.
But what might surprise you is that, according to the National Safety Council, only five percent of those are from texting. The other 20 percent are from simply being on the phone, or even having the phone nearby and distracting you.
When it’s time to drive remember the old saying, “out of sight out of mind.” Put your smartphone on the “do not disturb” setting (or turn it off) and put it away where you can’t see it. Even the hands-free function is distracting enough to cause an accident.
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