Gadgets

How Smartphones Affect Our Bodies: The Good, the Bad, and the Radiation

19. Human Decency The reliance on cell phones has gotten in the way of basic human decency. We’ve become so wrapped up in our phones that… Trista - September 1, 2019
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19. Human Decency

The reliance on cell phones has gotten in the way of basic human decency. We’ve become so wrapped up in our phones that we tend to pay less attention to the world around us. Studies have found that the use of smartphones has led to a reduction in human trust and kindness.

People are less likely to offer to help strangers on the street, smile at people we don’t know and accept people from different backgrounds. You may not realize it, but casual interactions are imperative for building social skills. They help us learn how to read emotions and initiate conversations. The use of smartphones has made people way less skilled at connecting with others.

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20. Smartphones Can Cause Cancer

As we mentioned before, radiation emitted by cell phones can cause cancer. This theory is considered controversial, but as smartphone use increases, it’s becoming more likely to occur. Heavy cell phone users have been shown to be at risk for developing salivary gland cancer as well as a type of brain tumor known as a glioma.

Radio waves emitted by cell phones along with the extreme rise in cellphone users have led many to believe that smartphones can cause cancer. It may be that not enough time has passed to conduct thorough studies on the connection between cell phone use and cancer. To avoid your risk of developing cancer from your cell phone, use a headset, earpiece, or speaker mode when talking on the phone.

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21. Arthritis from Texting and Scrolling

Continually holding your phone in your hand in the same position, day after day will most certainly lead to hand issues. Arthritis can creep up because of the repetition involved with using a phone. This can be especially apparent in your thumbs.

Gripping a smartphone tightly with your thumbs can cause tightness, tenderness, and pain at the base of the thumb where it meets the wrist. Pinching your thumb and forefinger on the screen, holding onto your phone, and using your phone to text can worsen arthritis in your thumb and hand. There is, unfortunately, no cure for this condition, but you can alleviate symptoms with medication, rest, and a splint.

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22. Insomnia and Smartphones

Staying up late looking at your phone is terrible for your sleep. The blue light can affect your eyes, and the mindless scrolling can disrupt restful sleep. Not to mention constant notifications that can wake you up throughout the night.

The blue light emitted from your phone can do more than interrupt your sleep. It messes with your hormones. The human body produces hormones while it sleeps. The hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin, which regulate appetite,  are created at night. If your phone keeps waking you up and preventing a sound sleep, it can lead to weight gain and diabetes.

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23. Trigger Thumb

Trigger thumb occurs when your phone becomes stuck in a bend or makes a popping noise when you straighten it. This condition can be painful and lead to tendon and joint issues. When the sheath around your thumbs tendon becomes so thick the muscle can’t slide freely, trigger thumb develops.

This condition can be caused by a massive amount of texting. Also, holding onto your smartphone very tightly leads to trigger thumb. The best way to prevent this from happening is to limit the use of your smartphone. If you must be on your phone, lay it on a table while you scroll. You can also use your phone’s microphone function to write text messages and emails.

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24. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

You’ve probably never heard of cubital tunnel syndrome, but it’s a condition that occurs when too much pressure is applied to the ulnar nerve, also known as the “funny bone.” If you find yourself frequently leaning on your elbows to text people or hold your phone to your ear, you may be at risk of developing it.

Cubital tunnel syndrome causes tingling and numbness in your ring and small fingers. You may also feel soreness inside your elbow and forearm. To prevent this painful condition, always cushion your elbows when leaning on hard surfaces. Avoid bending your elbow for long periods and be sure to move your arms in different directions every once in a while. You can even try wearing a splint at night to keep your arm straight.

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25. Smartphones Related to Mental Health

Being on the phone constantly can not only affect us physically but mentally as well. As smartphones have become more popular, mental health issues have arisen in young adults and teens. A lack of social interaction can be harmful to our mental health, mood, and self-esteem.

Studies show that spending time with people in person leads to happiness. Relying so much on smartphones for entertainment make people less likely to build social skills, setting them up for a sheltered life. It also leads many to only interact with people who share similar points of view instead of interacting with people with all kinds of opinions.

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26. Eye Issues as a Result of Smartphones

Staring at a smartphone screen all day and night can lead to eye problems. The blue light emits a shorter wavelength that makes your eyes tired quickly. This leads to pain and in some cases, eye damage.

The blue light that is given off when we use our smartphones can damage the cornea, which is the clear lens at the front of the eye. Studies have shown that lying in bed in the dark while using a smartphone can cause temporary blindness. Limit how much you use your mobile devices during the day and avoid using them at night. If you need to be on your phone a lot for work, take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest.  You may also be able to find special glasses to wear while you use a smartphone that protects your eyes from blue light.

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27. Smartphone Interference

For those that wear medical devices, be aware that smartphones can interfere with how they operate. Things like implanted defibrillators and pacemakers can be interrupted or stopped entirely by radio waves emitted by mobile devices. Even certain brands of hearing aids can be affected when you use a smartphone.

Smartphones can also cause issues at doctors offices and hospitals. If doctors and nurses have their phones on in their offices or operating rooms, that may pose a risk to their patients, especially those who wear medical devices. If any issues arise with your medical devices, contact your doctor for assistance.

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28. Health Care Mistakes

When you visit a doctor, you like to know that their focus is on you and your health. Seeing a doctor or nurse distracted by their phone is not a reassuring occurrence. This can lead to distrust between patients and their health care providers.

Additionally, smartphones can distract medical professionals while in the operating room. A recent study found that the number of mistakes made when treating a patient and diagnosing symptoms can go up by 12 percent from just one single interruption from a smartphone. If you feel that your doctor is unprofessional by checking their phone, say something. Your health needs are more important than a random notification.

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29. Smartphones Affect Relationships

Being distracted by your phone can ruin your connections with those around you. If you’re on the phone all the time, you let life pass you by. Having meaningful conversations without disruptions with those you love is essential.

Try to focus on your loved one when spending time with them instead of scrolling through your phone. Leave social media and texting for later and enjoy the moment. It will make your friends and family happier as well as improve your mood. Spending a little one-on-one time with someone without a smartphone to distract you is excellent for enhancing social skills and forming connections.

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30. Parenting in the Age of Smartphones

Another time to put down your smartphone is when you are spending time with your children. Kids are wired to obtain attention from their parents because that’s how they feel loved. When you neglect your kids to scroll through your phone, you can end up developing emotional issues in your children.

Parents who are physically present with their kids but have their attention elsewhere is a problem. This sends a message to children that they are not as crucial in their parent’s lives as a smartphone or tablet. Try to use your phone as little as possible when spending time with your kids. Take them outside to play and leave the phone behind.

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31. Smartphones Can Cause Anxiety

Studies have shown that the more people use Facebook, the more their well-being declined. Using social media, especially on your smartphone, can lead to anxiety and depression. The FOMO, or fear of missing out, trend leads many to believe that their lives aren’t good enough compared to what they see online.

Smartphone use can evolve into a full-blown addiction. Known as “nomophobia,” the fear of being without a mobile phone is genuine and can damage a lot of people’s well-being. The stress of being away from an online world of social media, games, and internet friends can cause anxiety levels to rise. If you feel like your smartphone use has increased your anxiety, speak to a mental health professional.

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32. Smartphones and Healthcare

Even though smartphones can be seen as addictive and problematic, advanced technology has been used in health care settings. Smartphones and tablets are increasingly being used in hospitals and doctors offices. Research shows that in the United States, smartphone ownership among health care professionals is roughly 91 percent.

Mobile devices are great for communicating with patients and examining them from different rooms. They make it easy for doctors to share data and quickly reply to patients via email. Doctors can reach out to other health care professionals in different buildings or even different cities for a consultation.

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33. Using Smartphones for Diagnosing and Treating Medical Conditions

Smartphones and tablets can be used for checking vital signs and diagnosing conditions. Many devices can be outfitted with weight scales, pulse oximeters, and blood pressure cuffs, making it easy to track data. These tools are especially great for home health care nurses and doctors. By making the process of taking vitals easier, it gives nurses and doctors more time to focus on their patients.

Many medical devices connect with smartphone apps to track their health. There are sleep apnea machines, blood sugar trackers, and more tools that work seamlessly with smartphone technology. Additionally, these apps and devices make it easy for you to send medical information to your doctor.

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34. Detecting HIV

You may not realize it, but your smartphone could be used to detect serious diseases. HIV/AIDS affects more than 37 million people around the world. Early diagnosis of this disease can save lives, as access to antiretroviral medication can add ten years to someone’s life expectancy.

Researchers from the University of London have developed a disposable sensor that plugs into smartphones. This sensor holds particles that react to HIV. Within ten seconds of adding blood from a patient into the sensor’s channels, HIV can be detected. Results will be uploaded into a smartphone app and sent to a patient’s doctor.

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35. Diagnosing Malaria

Malaria is a life-threatening disease that can be hard to diagnose correctly. Many times health care workers in countries where malaria isn’t common won’t think to test for it. Additionally, they may not have enough experience to be able to make an accurate diagnosis.

A device created by researchers in the Netherlands utilizes a smartphone’s camera. A tiny glass ball is placed on the camera lens of a smartphone to transform it into a microscope by increasing the view over eight times. By being able to zoom in on a blood sample further, doctors can detect malaria, which shows up as a dark spot contained by a lighter ring.

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36. Identifying Parkinson’s Disease

Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and ALS affect many people around the world. Over 10 million people live with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s affects the nervous system and causes rigid limbs, slow movement, and muscle tremors.

Parkinson’s is most often identified after it has progressed. In Greece, researchers have created an app that works with fitness bands, smartwatches, and smartphones. This app tracks numerous biological clues that could indicate the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease. Also, this app provides games to help improve a patient’s physical and emotional state as well as diet. Thanks to artificial intelligence present in smartphones, we may be able to identify the onset of several diseases.

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37. Eliminating Respiratory Disease

The World Health Organization has determined that one of the top causes of death for children around the world is a respiratory disease. This condition is caused by a wide variety of things, including genetics, environment, and pollution.

Physicians from Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a smartphone app designed to identify acute respiratory disease in children. This app works by analyzing how a child’s cough sounds. Experts believe that the app, called ResAppDx, may be able to replace CT scans, X-rays, blood and sputum tests, and spirometry. This innovative smartphone app is currently going through clinical trials to test its effectiveness and get it ready for mainstream usage.

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38. Measuring Blood Flow

When a patient is getting ready for a serious procedure like dialysis, bypass surgery, or a coronary angiogram, doctors must test how well blood flows through their arteries. This is commonly done using the Allen Test. With the Allen Test, the doctor will press two spots on the wrist to stop blood flow for a few seconds. After the pressure is released, they then monitor to see how long it takes to return color to the area.

A study found that a free smartphone app called Instant Heart Rate is more accurate at analyzing blood flow than the Allen Test. Using a smartphone’s camera lens and light, the app tracks the light reflection from a person’s finger. It also examines changes in color or brightness that indicate changes in pulse.

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39. Eye Exams

Going to the eye doctor can be a hassle. You’ve got to complete several stages of an exam, take a few tests, and then go through the process of choosing a pair of glasses. Thanks to smartphones, the process has gotten much more accessible.

Many companies in the United States offer online eye exams that utilize a computer or phone camera. The smartphone camera can figure out the right prescription, identify astigmatisms and colorblindness, as well as test light sensitivity. These tests are ideal for people between the ages of 18 and 39 looking to update their prescription. They don’t usually work for diagnosing cataracts or glaucoma.

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40. Preventing Suicide

The tenth leading cause of death in the world is suicide. Research shows that suicide is happening more and more each year. There are ways to determine who may be at risk of contemplating suicide, but it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint when someone attempts it. Research teams and Vanderbilt University and Harvard University are looking into ways that smartphones can help to identify risk factors for suicide and offer ways to step in to stop it.

In their studies, they are monitoring people who have a high risk of attempting suicide. They are asked to wear sensors to track activity and sleep levels as well as answer text messages sent to them throughout the day. The idea is that smartphone technology will be able to see patterns that humans are unable to. Then scientists can create programs designed to flag people who are at immediate risk of attempting suicide so they can get help.

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