Dr. Okeziea Emenike, a general physician, has warned that the continuous use of computers could lead to life threatening diseases such as high blood pressure.
The doctor disclosed this while speaking with NAN in Abuja on Friday. He stated that focusing on anything too close to our body was a contributing factor for most illnesses and vision problems.
He noted that research has it that older persons who spend 13 hours a day in the sedentary position are 50 per cent more likely to become disabled compared to those who spend 12 hours a day in the seated position.
According to the physician, prolonged computer exposure can have a detrimental impact on various parts of the body, including the eyes, back, hands and wrists. He said excessive usage of computer and other gadgets could cause carpel tunnel syndrome (a pain and numbness in the hands).
He added that this condition occurs when the tissue surrounding flexor tendons in the wrist are flamed, which puts pressure on the median nerve that runs from the forearm into the palm of our hand.
Emenike further stated that excessive exposure to the computer could predispose an individual to high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease as well as cancer. He said: “Just by looking at our computer screens for an extended period of time we can put our health in jeopardy that could lead to computer vision syndrome.
“It can cause eyestrain, neck and shoulder pain, dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches. Left untreated, these symptoms can progress into farsightedness, astigmatism and loss of eye coordination.
“Lower back pain caused by constant sitting can slowly progress from bothersome to excruciating pain as we get older. We put our backs at risk to injury while sitting due to the bent forward position we naturally resort to when viewing a computer screen.
“Even if your back is not immediately affected by sitting, the pressure sitting puts on disks that support your spine can leave you vulnerable to a major back injury outside of the office.”
Emenike added that there are remedies that could help promote a healthy office life, noting that avoiding screen glare can prevent the onset of some conditions.
He added that positioning the screen for downward viewing can reduce the amount of stress on an individual’s neck and shoulders.
He said: “When you are at your desk, try to sit on the edge of your seat. This will force your body into an upright position. Using a rolled up towel for lumbar support can also encourage a healthy sitting position thereby reducing development of back aches.
“Eating lunch while standing may seem unconventional, but is another measure of keeping your body upright and the best way to improve your posture and increase energy. Also consider a set schedule for ‘walking around time’.
“Take some laps around your office to ensure a healthy balance between sitting and standing. Taking breaks from your computer exposure over the course of the day increases the amount of times you blink throughout the day, which helps reduce effects. Constant blinking will lower the chances of drying out your eyes.
“Even if you don’t currently wear glasses, eyewear or contact lenses designed specifically for computer use can reduce the impact of screen-based viewing.”
The doctor, therefore, advised individuals that use computer daily to always take a break from their system in order to avert some illnesses associated with constant usage.