In recent response to a friend who had a sudden heart attack and another recent scare with a family member who underwent a quintuple heart bypass surgery, I’ve decided to dig a little deeper on how to become better prepared for heart disease. Specifically, how to better utilize our handy smartphone sidekicks. If you have a stubborn, yet resilient, family member like me, they often refuse to go to the doctor and devalue significant symptoms. So, to provide some ease to loved ones, and ourselves, here are a few heart health apps that may be of use to someone you know.
It’s important heart health apps encompass a range of assessments, including overall health, fitness, diet, and blood pressure, according to Everyday Health. The following are a few heart health apps you may want to look into:
My Cardiac Coach
Created by the American Heart Association (AHA), My Cardiac Coach empowers patients to navigate the road to recovery after a heart attack, which can often be quite nerve-wracking. After my family member’s recent heart attack and surgery, he has realized how pertinent a new diet and constant physical activity will be to his continuing health. The Cardiac Coach helps patients adhere to different treatment plans and provides actionable information following hospital discharge.
According to AHA, about one-fifth of heart attack survivors over the age of 45 will have another heart attack within five years of their first. My Cardiac Coach aims to educate heart attack survivors to help them adopt better self-management skills and build healthier lifestyles.
In particular, this app includes:
- Information from experts at AHA
- Interactive lessons to help individuals learn what they need to know
- Progress-trackers for monitoring blood pressure and weight
- Tools for logging physical activity and managing medications
- Connections to other survivors through the Support Network
Instant Heart Rate
The Instant Heart Rate app, created by Azumio, has the ability to measure a person’s pulse through a phone’s camera. The app uses a process called photoplethysmography. The app records and measures a pulse by capturing color changes in a person’s finger when they hold it up to the camera. This process takes about 10 seconds or less.
The free version of Instant Heart Rate allows users to save their five most recent measurements. The app also measures heart rate changes appropriate to age and exercise, so individuals always have access to their individual instant heart rate.
Azumio also integrated the StandUp Test, within the Instant Heart Rate app as an in-app purchase, which rates a person’s overall healthiness based on their body’s response to standing up. When people stand, especially those with heart problems, their hearts have to pump harder to circulate blood throughout the body. The StandUp Test is calculated using percentages and gives users insight on their overall cardiovascular health. The higher your percentage score, the better your heart is performing. Ideally, we’d all like to see 100 percent, but you don’t need a perfect percentage to be considered fit.
For some, a baseline percentage of 20 percentage can be normal, while 75 percent may be normal for others. The baseline percentage allows individuals to measure if they are well rested or fatigued. A percentage lower than your baseline percentage means you are fatigued or stressed, while a higher percentage means you are well rested.
HeartWatch and Heart Analyzer
Although only compatible with an Apple watch and its built-in heart rate monitor, the HeartWatch app allows users to see their heart beating in four different views, which includes Waking, Regular, Workout, and Sleeping modes. This gives users and doctors better insight into how a person’s heart is operating throughout the day. HeartWatch also provides heartrate alerts, checks live pulse rate, and analyzes workout results.
The Heart Analyzer, also only compatible with the Apple Watch, shows personal statistics of daily heart rate graphs. This provides explicit detail on metrics throughout the day about bpm averages and more.
The Heart Analyzer includes features such as:
- Graphical plots of your heart rate data and active energy on any given day from the past three years
- Statistics on your average, maximum, minimum, and resting heart rates
- Ability to access deep analytics on heart rate, activity, and workouts
As I mentioned in the beginning, I’ve had two recent heart attack scares these past few weeks with friends and family. Recently, my mom went to get a haircut, a seemingly simple task, at a family-friend’s salon. Long story short, my mom ended up performing CPR after the hairdresser’s husband suffered a heart attack and stopped breathing. Thankfully, he’s okay and in recovery, but an app like PulsePoint could be vital for instances like these.
PulsePoint is an app that connects bystanders witnessing a cardiac event with CPR services close to them. For instance, had my mom not known how to perform CPR, this app could have found nearby CPR-trained bystanders who were also using the app and alerted them. It can also direct users to nearby first-aid kits with specific locations and directions.
Smart Blood Pressure (SmartBP)
The Smart Blood Pressure app synchronizes data from blood pressure measurement devices, such as Apple HealthKit or Microsoft HealthVault, and records blood pressure and weight to track and analyze information. It can find important stats such as BMI, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure, and monitor progress toward lowering overall blood pressure. Users can also share constant updates and reports with their doctor or family members.
Overall, we always want to keep our family and friends safe and healthy. As the trend of digitization continues to pave the way of healthcare, apps become more prevalent and pertinent to our daily lives. I know I’ll be doing a little more digging into apps that could benefit both myself and my loved ones.