7 best iPhone apps for monitoring your heart health
Posted May 09 2012 12:57am
One of the challenges with maintaining a health lifestyle is keeping track of all the new data and information. Between blood pressure, when to take medication, what you’ve been eating and for some glucose levels all this information can become overwhelming. I’ve found my iPhone to be a very helpful tool. I’ve picked 7 of my favorite apps to help heart patients record and maintain a healthy lifestyle. My selections are biased to iPhone simply because I own one. I’ll add a note if the same app is available on the Android platform.
I’ve been using iBP ever since I received my iPhone over a year ago. This is one awesome app. Easy to enter data and quickly be on your way. Date and time are automatically logged and readings are recorded using simple scrolling selector where BP is entered along with pulse and weight. Another handy item is the “Note” field in case you need to record a reminder or event with your entry. There is one field that can be user defined, for instance “Blood Glucose,” allowing one additional data point to be entered and recorded. The real strength, I’ve found, is the historical trending graphs. I’m a data guy so bar graphs and trending charts are big in my book and iBP doesn’t disappoint. Both Systolic and Diastolic thresholds can be set manually with small “lights” to let you know if you’re above or below your targets when you enter your readings. The graphing section offers time range (1 day up to 1 year) and segment morning vs. afternoon/evening readings.
The feature that really stands it apart for me outside of the graphing is the ability to email my results to my Primary Care Physician or Cardiologist. The results can be sent in either plain text (raw data), HTML (formatted tables) or CSV (easily imports into Excel or other spreadsheet software) email formats. If you can’t email your doctor you can email the results to yourself and print them out at a computer to bring to your next appointment.
iBP – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android: iTunes App Store & Google Play ($0.99)
The title says it all, an app for taking your heart rate. It does so by utilizing the built in camera and flash working on the same principle as pulse oximeters to record your heart rate. Quick and easy, just place a finger over the camera and the app takes it from there. Within ~10 seconds your result will be displayed. Takes a little practice but once you’ve used it reading are pretty quick. The free App will store the last 5 readings and has a field for entering a short note. I use the free version as it does all that I need; paid version ($0.99) adds unlimited storage and removes ads.
Heart Rate – iPhone, iPad2+, iPod Touch, Android: iTunes App Store & Google Play (Free / $0.99)
For those of you not familiar with theheart.org it’s a website dedicated to cardiologist and healthcare professionals bringing the latest developments in cardiology and cardiovascular research. A lot of the information is way over my head (remember I’m not a doctor, nor play one on TV) but there are often nuggets that are relevant to my treatments and/or condition that are good to keep aware of. From time to time I’ll reference an article from theheart.org on this site and use this handy app to do my research. It does require setting up a user account (which is free) to access the content. The app also allows you to save articles for future reference.
Theheart.org – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch: iTunes App Store (Free)
The parent of theheart.org, WebMD is one of the best know resources on the web for medical information. WebMD offer the ability to personalize the app with custom lists of your conditions, drugs, topics and articles securely for review later. The symptom checker asks you a series of questions to help narrow down symptoms and provide possible conditions for you to further drill down. The Drug and Treatment section makes it easy to look up medications and get detailed information about side effects, precautions, interactions and photos of the pills to aid in identification. There is even an option to locate a hospital, pharmacy or physician near you using your current location.
WebMD – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android: iTunes App Store & Google Play (Free)
A great app I use to help with grocery shopping. After a heart attack diet becomes foremost in the battle towards prevention of the next heart event. My first trip to the grocery store took over two hours because I was reading every nutrition label trying to find alternatives for the food I used to love. Fooducate makes it easy to get unbiased nutrition information and more importantly notify you of healthier alternatives. You can automatically scan a product barcode, search for products, or browse by category. Foods are given a letter grade (A+ to F) and offers simplified information to help you make better choices. Fooducate will call out things like if a product has excessive sugar, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup and more. There are over 200,000 foods in their database and it grows daily by allowing users to add products not listed.
Fooducate / Fooducate+ – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android: iTunes App Store & Google Play (Free / $3.99)
You don’t have to live near a Whole Foods to take advantage of their app. This app is all recipes, but what sets it apart is the level of detail one can search is amazingly helpful. The recipe search categories not only include the course (Main Dish, Salads, etc.) or category (One Pot Meals, Budget) but also have a section for Special Diets. Being able to filter by Low Sodium or Fat Free is a huge time saver. Most recipes have pictures and offer full instructions. The app can even put together and save a shopping list of ingredients for you next trip to the store. I’ve found it very valuable to find new dinner options when the menu at home starts to get monotonous and needs a kick in the pants.
Whole Foods – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android: iTunes App Store & Google Play (Free)
Fitness Rewards by Plus 3
Exercising is good for you, but motivation on some days is harder to find than a good pair of shoes. But what if you’re exercising was also making a contribution to a charity? Being philanthropic while on the treadmill? Yes, it’s true. Plus3 Network ( topic of another post ) matches people with corporate donors and charities which “donates” a small amount every time you’re active and record it on their site. Using this app and the iPhone’s built in GPS you can track your walks, runs and bike rides and easily upload your workouts to Plus3’s site so you get the credit you truly deserve. Every activity (they have over 85 activities to choose from) gets assigned a point value and for every mile or minute you accumulate points that equate to a monetary donation to the charity you’ve chosen.
Fitness Rewards by Plus 3 – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android: iTunes App Store & Google Play (Free)