- Aug 24, 2001
We're all going to die! Ahhhhhhh <runs around in circles frantically waving arms in the air>
Your computer could be killing you
Sitting at a computer for long periods of time could kill you, according to a new study reported in the February 2003 edition of the European Respiratory Journal.
It says there is a risk of developing life-threatening blood clots from sitting for long periods at a computer, similar to a problem that has injured or killed some airline passengers on long flights.
The report centers on a case from New Zealand in which a young man who spent up to 18 hours a day sitting at his computer nearly died after developing a massive blood clot that formed in his leg veins, broke off and traveled to his lungs, a condition called pulmonary embolism.
This new disorder has been termed "e-thrombosis" by the authors to describe what may become the 21st century variant of thrombosis associated with immobility from prolonged sitting. This condition was first described in people sitting in deck chairs in air raid shelters during the Blitz in London and subsequently identified with prolonged air travel.
Dr. Richard Beasley of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand and his colleagues warn that there may be a large unrecognised risk of developing blood clots in this situation when the widespread use of computers in so many aspects of modern life is considered.
"It may be similar to the situation with the risk of blood clots with long distance air travel ? it was not until there was publicity with individual cases that the real extent of the problem was recognised," he says.
The authors recommend that, with the current state of knowledge, it would seem prudent to advise all people who commonly sit for prolonged periods at a computer to undertake frequent leg and foot exercises and to take regular breaks away from their computer.
© 2003 American City Business Journals Inc.