Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. So what can you do to protect yourself? When it comes to cardiac care, knowledge is power. Check out these hot apps, designed to help you monitor your heart health, assess your risk for cardiac disease and make lifestyle changes for a healthier future.
Hot heart health apps
Would you believe an iPhone or iPad camera can measure your heartbeat by recording the change in light reflected from your face as your heart pumps blood through your body? Developed by a team of engineers, Ph.D. scientists, designers and technology lovers from MIT and Harvard, the Cardiio app does just that. At $2.99, Cardiio is an inexpensive and convenient alternative to buying bulky equipment or scheduling a doctor’s appointment.
Withings Blood Pressure Monitor
The sleek Withings Blood Pressure Monitor lets you store your daily blood pressure readings directly on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch simply by plugging the monitor into your device. This tech-savvy tool also provides graphs of your blood pressure over time, letting you identify trends and averages at a glance. Plus, it’s a snap to share your blood pressure data directly with your health care provider.
AliveCor Heart Monitor
Doctors were so excited about this iPhone case that turns your phone into a portable electrocardiogram (ECG), they started buying the pet version when the human version wasn’t yet available. Now that AliveCor’s Heart Monitor has been cleared by the FDA for use on people, doctors can stop posing as vets. Here’s how the heart monitor works: Patients rest their fingers on electrodes on either side of the case and the ECG records and displays heart rates on the screen.
Heart-Health Apps to Watch in 2013
When it comes to heart health, the U.S. government is putting their money where their mouth is. In July 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services announced The Million Hearts Risk Check Challenge, asking developers to come up with the best mobile app to help consumers reduce their risk for heart disease by controlling blood pressure and managing cholesterol. While the judges haven’t yet determined the winner of the $100,000 check, and some of these apps haven’t yet been fully developed, here’s a peek at some of the finalists.
FLORNCE Heart Coach
The Healthy Heart Coach app by mHealthHeart Coach helps you set and achieve cardio fitness goals by guiding you through a self-administered stress test and assigning a fitness score. The app acts like a virtual coach, sending reminders to keep you on track with a consistent exercise schedule (think Siri with a stopwatch). Healthy Heart Coach also provides logs so you can track your progress. If you need some encouragement from real live people, the app has a Facebook component so your friends can cheer you on in your journey toward heart health.
Know Your Heart
Once fully functional, the free Know Your Heart app, by XLBAO Lab, will allow you to use either your mobile device or the web to input variables such as age, height, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol level. Using this data as well as information such as frequency of exercise and health history, the app will provide you with a calculation of your risk for heart disease or stroke. As an added benefit, Know Your Heart will help you locate clinics nearby to get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked.
Currently in the testing phase, the HeartHealth Mobile app, developed by the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, tracks a person’s heart disease risk factors by having users enter statistics such as height, weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Check out this YouTube video for a sneak peek at how this app will work once fully functional.
Be prepared. Download the Pocket First Aid & CPR app from the American Heart Association and learn what to do in the event of a cardiac emergency.