What Is Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity?
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is developing a wide range of non-specific health problems after exposure to even low levels of electromagnetic fields.
The common Electromagnetic hypersensitivity symptoms reported are:
Although all the above symptoms are not a part of any medically recognized syndrome, the sensitivity is presumed as electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
Does Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Really Exist?
Electronic devices are a convenient part of the everyday life of many people. They help in doing activities such as browsing the internet, microwave food, and many more. These devices emit electromagnetic fields that are referred to as radiations. It happens that some feel themselves to be extra sensitive to these electromagnetic fields. They display symptoms such as dizziness, headache, and tingling on exposure to electromagnetic fields.
The symptoms of electromagnetic fields are real and can be disabling, but there are no clear diagnostic criteria for the same. Does electromagnetic fields exposure really lead to these symptoms is not backed by any evidence from science.
In 2019 researchers analyzed 28 blinded experimental studies to find a connection between EMFs and electromagnetic hypersensitivity.(1) Each study’s strengths and limitations were analyzed.
It was found that studies suggesting electromagnetic fields could cause negative symptoms had various limitations.
In recent studies too, people were unable to identify actual electromagnetic fields exposure. In 2018, people with self-diagnosed Electromagnetic hypersensitivity were exposed to electromagnetic fields from radio and mobile systems as well as fake signals. The participant reported more symptoms when exposed to different stations.(2) It could not be concluded whether the symptoms were due to the devices, psychological, or some other reason.
Another study done in 2020 reported similar reviews.(3)
Symptoms of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity
The symptoms of electromagnetic sensitivity reported by people have nonspecific range and severity. The symptoms include:
- Sleep disorders
- Skin issues
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Mood issues
- Memories difficulties
- Hot feeling on the face
- Trouble in concentrating
People who report these symptoms say they get them on exposure to specific objects such as smart phones or computers.
None of the studies have found any relation between electromagnetic fields exposure and these symptoms. Scientists speculate the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity may be due to undiagnosed physical or psychological conditions.
What Can Be A Treatment Plan For Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity?
As electromagnetic hypersensitivity is not officially diagnosed, there is no standard treatment plan for it.
Several things can be done to ease the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
According to the World Health Organization, the treatment can include the following measures.(4)
Treatment Of The Underlying Condition
The doctor can medically evaluate the person to know more about the symptom. The major goal is to detect and treat any disorder that might be causing the symptoms. Medical history is taken, a physical examination is done and blood tests are ordered.
The person experiencing electromagnetic hypersensitivity can be referred to a mental health professional, who can help identify and treat the underlying psychological condition. The thoughts can be managed with the following therapies such as:
- Exposure therapy
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Self-help groups.
Certain environmental factors may lead to electromagnetic hypersensitivity symptoms. Modifying the environment might help with these symptoms.
The change in the environment can be brought about in the following ways:
- Reducing indoor air pollution by getting air humidifier or cutting back on smoking.
- Adding ergonomic elements
- Improving poor lighting
- Decreasing excess noise
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a self-reported condition that has not been proved scientifically. People report symptoms that are triggered by exposure to electronic devices.
The treatment for Electromagnetic hypersensitivity aims to establish an effective patient-physician relationship and develop strategies to cope with the situation and encourage patients to return back to their work and normal life.