Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Real or Imagined Health Threat?

The first reports of electromagnetic hypersensitivity occurred in the 1970s and have grown since then, even showing up occasionally in mobile news. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a mysterious condition thought to be caused by electromagnetic waves in near proximity to some people.
Those who claim to suffer from it report symptoms like warm sensations on the skin, trouble concentrating, and unexplained pain in the mouth or teeth. Although the reports of this have been on an increase since first reported, there is still some debate as to whether this is a real condition or the result of something else, with stress being the most likely culprit.

1. Understand the Human Body

To examine the condition of electromagnetic hypersensitivity, called EHS, and whether it exists, it might be best to start with the human body. Humans are more than just skin and bones. The human body runs on an electromagnetic system as well as a bio-chemical one. From that, it seems totally within the realm of possibility that EHS is real.

2. Check Symptoms

Next there are the symptoms. They do tend to vary from person to person but a general list would look like this:

  • Skin irritation including redness, burning or tingling
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations

Collectively, there is no known disease or syndrome that has all these symptoms. The problem occurs because almost no one has all of them. That by itself does not mean that it is an imaginary illness. The people who claim to suffer from it do have these symptoms. The question is on the amount of stock that can be taken in these self-diagnoses.

3. Notice Geographic Divides

It is interesting to note that the type of symptoms and their severity seem to have geographic divides. There are relatively few reports of EHS in the US as compared to Europe, and the symptoms are different in Scandinavian countries versus the United Kingdom. What that means is as much of a mystery as EHS itself.

4. What Does Testing Reveal?

The obvious approach to take to unravel this mystery is testing and there have been several large studies. Some of the largest involved whether or not the people with EHS could detect electromagnetic fields better than people who did not claim to suffer from EHS. In double blind studies it was shown that they could not.

5. Conclusion

So where does that leave EHS? Is it real or imagined? As general understanding stands now, EHS does exist because there are a certain set of symptoms that can be attributed to it. That being said, it cannot be confirmed that the condition is caused by magnetic fields.

6. Other Possible Causes

The key here might be the scientific adage, “Correlation does not equal causation.” Yes, there are magnetic fields near people that suffer from EHS but there are other things as well. There are fluorescent lights, computer monitors, and cell phones, too. It could be that the fluorescent lights are part of the cause for the dermatological problems and those are used more in darker countries (like Norway, Sweden, and Finland); and computer screens and TVs flicker, which can stress the eyes. Even talking on cell phones can be stressful.

EHS is a real disorder but it will take further study to determine just what is causing it. Right now, there is no clear answer. If you think you may suffer from EHS, stay updated through mobile news sources to be notified when more conclusive evidence becomes available.

Author bio:

Fran Delaney is a prolific science writer who covers topics such as health and the environment.

Contributing Author

This post was written by contributing author at Hive Health Media. If you would like to write for us about health, fitness, or blogging topics, click here.

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