Suffering From Email Apnea?

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Anxiety and anticipation about what’s in your email or other electronic messages, like texts, can cause some health issues. Some say it’s a new condition that could affect anyone who uses an electronic device.

Tech expert Linda Stone says, “What concerns me is the cumulative effect.”

She’s sounding the alarm about a subconscious reaction that can happen when checking in electronically. People sometimes hold their breath, something that’s being called “email apnea.”

“It turns out about 80% of us experience this when we’re in front of a screen, especially when we’re texting or doing email,” explains Stone.

Psychologist Dr. Fred Meunch studies the impact of technology on the body. He says it’s poor posture, combined with the anticipation we experience before opening email, that puts people at risk for email apnea.

“What that’s doing physiologically is causing a stress response reaction,” he adds.

ENT Josh Werber says, “I think we’re gonna hear more about this.”

He worries about the long term effect that could be similar to sleep apnea.

“There could be subtle consequences with respect to blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and things that are associated with that,” says Dr. Werber.

There are some who say there isn’t enough evidence or science about this to prove that it really exists, but experts say that awareness of your breathing and any anxious feelings is the first step to deal with email apnea. They also recommend patients take a five-minute break every hour from the computer.