8 Great Apps to Monitor Your Health

According to the folks at Mobile Learning, more than 80% of doctors use smartphone and medical apps in their own practices. Eighty-eight percent of doctors would like their patients to monitor their health at home. So-called mobile health or “mHealth” apps use smartphone technology to do everything from monitoring your diet, to examining your eyes, to showing you how to stretch and exercise. With more than 320 million mobile phones in the U.S. alone, a growing number of consumers are utilizing to mHealth technology for the convenience and cheaper cost. Here are eight health apps with good reviews that are currently available for your smartphone.

  1. Lose It!:

    Lose It! is a free app for your iPhone, iPad, or Android that allows you to record everything you eat during the course of a day. For each food item you record, the app provides you with a calorie count as well as the food’s carbohydrate, fiber, sugar, and protein content. If you have a weight-loss goal, Lose It! will calculate your daily caloric allowance accordingly. You can share the progress of your weight-loss by creating and sharing daily reports, or keep that data private for your own reference.

  2. Asthma Tracker:

    If you suffer from asthma, keeping track of when and where attacks occur, as well as how you treat each attack, can help you and your physician determine the best course for managing and treating your condition. Asthma Tracker, a free app for Android, tracks your attacks and peak flow meter readings. There are default choices available for the location of and what triggered your attack, but you can edit this data however you like. Asthma MD, a free app for iPhone, iPod, and iPad, does the same thing and allows you to send your data from your device to your physician.

  3. Nike+ Fuelband:

    This app works in tandem with a PVC free, battery-powered wristband that monitors your physical activity throughout the course of a day and tells you how many calories you’ve burned as a result. The band syncs constantly with your iPhone or iPod, providing you with more detail related to your activity levels. Nike’s Fuelband hit the market shortly after the failure of a similar device and app combo called Up, created by the company Jawbone. Reviews for Fuelband are mixed, but generally positive. We predict more wearable device and app combination mHealth products like Fuelband will hit the market in the near future.

  4. Fooducate:

    This free app for your iPhone or Android allows you to scan the barcode of any food item in a grocery store. With each scan, the app tells you exactly what’s in the product and, if you’re disgusted by the amount of sugar contained in a box of Fruit Loops, will recommend a healthier alternative. By educating yourself and making better food choices, you can train yourself over time to eat a little healthier. The Fooducate website also has a lot of good information about food and nutrition.

  5. Lastics Office Stretch:

    Anyone who sits and stares at a computer the majority of their workday should check out this 99 cent app for your iPhone, Android, and Netbooks. Download this app to view half a dozen healthy stretches that can be easily done in an office and at your desk. The app also provides step-by-step videos of each stretch, each lasting between two to four minutes. A DVD of a full workout of stretches is also available from the Lastics website.

  6. P90X:

    P90X is a 90-day home workout regimen that promises a “beach body” once you’ve completed the program. The website features intensely lit, beautifully Photoshopped images of buff men and women putting themselves through the agony of exercise. So if the two-minute-a-day stretch just doesn’t cut it for you, download P90X’s $4.99 app for iPhone to track your own 90-day workout schedule, view photos and videos for recommended exercises, and record your progress toward your goal of getting ripped.

  7. iBiomed:

    This free app for iPhone and Android (it’s also available as a mobile and desktop website) was created by Florence and Kwame Iwegbue (a physician at Roper Hospital) who are parents of a child with autism, seizure disorder, and several other medical issues. The app allows you to log and organize prescriptions, therapies, and treatment and refill reminders. It’s ideal if you have medical issues that require constant, and perhaps complicated, forms of treatment. The app also allows its users to ask advice from and share stories with other patients or caregivers on an online forum.

  8. HeartWise Blood Pressure Tracker:

    This $1.99 app for iPhone and iPad tracks your blood pressure, resting heart rate, and your weight. Doing so over an extended period of time outside of the doctor’s office can help you see fluctuations and trends in your body’s health. The app also allows you to send this data to your doctor in the form of a spreadsheet. Although the app doesn’t replace an actual visit to your doctor, as we stated earlier, more and more doctors are hoping people will track and monitor their health at home with apps like this one.