Latest technologies like mobile phones have an impact on the way our cells function, because our bodies use electrical impulses which is illustrated by tests like ECG, therefore it is important to know what effects this has on something as important as our heart. No doubt, cell phones play an important part in our everyday life by helping us in emergencies, but while doing so, they pose a grave danger to the functions of the heart.
How is this so? Mobile phones emit electromagnetic energy that increases reactive oxygen species, weakens cell membranes and changes the management of calcium in cells. A possible damage to the DNA in mitochondria, which is the center for energy production is also under investigation.
According to the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) laid down limits for safe exposure to radio frequency energy (RF) in 1996. Unfortunately, the FCC failed to carry out a research on cell phones and their possible non-thermal effects while establishing SAR.
The limitation of the FCC data was that it recommended the use of cell phones for six minutes daily for a man with a large body and head size, without considering smaller-framed men and women, and children or that the average daily use of mobile phones goes beyond 30 minutes. The position of the phone user and the tower maintaining the call were also not accounted for. The greater the distance between the caller and a tower, the higher is the energy emitted from the device.
The phone creates a great amount of energy during driving and switching from the mobile tower to tower. Because of the ambiguity surrounding the health threats due to the use of mobile phones, the maker of iPhone has included a legal statement added as part of ‘Legal information’ which says “carry iPhone at least 10 mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels.”
There has been no known effect of cell phone usage on pacemakers and defibrillators, but it is a routine to have phones switched off in the hospital when adjustments are made. The changes in heart rate in a healthy individual is not affected by the use of mobile phone.
However, a short time ago new pieces of information have come into view. A few Indian medical students were under study while being on a call. The heart rate and cholesterol level of heavy users of mobile phones increased during the phone call of a duration of 1 minute. Another study of the same nature turned up at the American Society of Hypertension meeting in May, which revealed that the blood pressure rises by 8mmHg on average just by the cell phone ring.
One more study focusing on 100 patients with blocked arteries due to atherosclerosis is published. A cell phone that was switched off was placed on their waist, then above their heart and an EKG was performed. The EKG was performed again as the cell phone rang for about 40 seconds, while placing it in the same positions as before. This caused QT levels to rise, which is associated with heart rhythm issues.
These are certain practices that can be adopted for the safer use of cell phones:
- Keeping safe distance: In order to keep yourself safe from cell phone radiation, the best strategy is to maintain some distance. This means keeping the cell phone away from the body.
- Carry a cell phone pouch: Keeping the mobile phone in your bra or the pocket above the heart or in a front pocket near the sexual organs is not advisable. This is because the sperm count and function is greatly reduced when exposed to cell phone radiation. Keeping the cell phone in airplane mode is best advised.
- Using a headset to ensure a safe distance from the cell phone: Radiation-reducing protective cell phone covers are now in the market, that reduces exposure to radiation by 90%. You should not hold the cell phone by the head or in the shielded areas.
- Have a lot of veggies: Eating veggies is necessary in order to have high antioxidant levels. Veggies are the main source of vitamins and minerals. Other than that, vitamin rich supplements can also be taken to increase the antioxidant levels in the body. It is better to avoid smoking, stress, poor sleep and processed food items to keep the antioxidant levels high.