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The machine-induced ailments

As we acquire gadgets, the number of aches we suffer multiply as well. According to experts, overuse of electronic devices is leading to unhealthy lifestyles and ailments like cerebral cancer, arthritis, psychological breakdown and premature cataract formation. Shocked? Read on...

health and fitness Updated: Sep 24, 2011 19:35 IST
Amrah Ashraf

Glance into any working professional’s briefcase or handbag, and you’ll find a number of gadgets. According to experts, overuse of electronic devices is leading to unhealthy lifestyles and ailments like cerebral cancer, arthritis, psychological breakdown and premature cataract formation.

Doctors claim they are seeing a sharp rise in the number of patients complaining of sleep deprivation, anxiety, indigestion, bone abnormalities and blurred vision. “Earlier, arthritis was mostly limited to people in their fifth or sixth decade,” says Dr VK Rastogi, senior consultant, internal medicine, Jaipur Golden Hospital. Now, patients aged 12 complain of bone and spine problems.

Health apps make things worse, says Aligarh Medical College paediatric surgeon Dr Tabassum Shahab. “They ensure you don’t go out to exercise,” she says.

tabletTablet Travails

Not only is overuse of Tablets bad for the eyes, it leads to the bent-spine syndrome. Users bend their neck to work on the Tab, causing the spine to bend. This leads to spondylitis and other spine ailments. "We have seen abnormal formations on the fingertips of Tab users. The skin becomes thick. Chances of dermatitis also increase because Tab screens get dirty, and this can lead to skin infections," says Dr Rastogi.

Take action
Clean the Tab screen constantly. Use a hand sanitiser before and after use.
Minimise the number of people touching the Tab.
If you have a cut or wound, put on a bandaid and then use your Tablet.
Reduce brightness to avoid glare.

SmartphonesNot-so-smart smartphones

Your smartphone can cause wrinkling, hearing disabilities, joint pain, and increase the risk of developing cancer. "Early wrinkles have been seen amongst people who use cell phones for over one hour a day. Also, mobile phones increase the brain’s temperature, reducing its cognitive functionality. Keeping the phone on vibration mode in your pocket can cause reduced sperm count among men and lead to bone damage," says Dr Rastogi.

Take action
Avoid using Bluetooth earpieces and use the speaker option as much as you can.
Reduce phone use to one hour a day.
Instead of calling, text people.
Right-handed people must use their right ear for listening to reduce cerebral damage to the left side of the brain, which is more active for righties and vice versa.

Laptop

laptopWhile laptops boast of being size zero these days, they are making people obese. Other ailments attributed to overuse of laptops include sleep deprivation, headaches, spine-related problems and indigestion. Laptops have also been linked to low sperm counts.

Take action
Always keep the laptop on a small table while working.
Your arms should be bent at 90 degrees.
Make sure your spine is erect while working on the laptop.
Take a break every 20 minutes to do basic stretching exercises.

From HT Brunch, September 25

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