12 Apps to Improve Heart Health

By Kenya McCullum

Every 40 seconds someone dies from heart disease in the U.S, according to the American Heart Association. And cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S.

To gain a better understanding of your heart health, reduce the risk factors of developing cardiovascular disease (like obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure), and make daily changes that will go a long way toward living a heart healthier lifestyle, check out these 12 apps. (Search for them in the iTunes App Store of Google Play on your smart device.)

ASCVD Risk Estimator (American College of Cardiology):The ASCVD's free app helps you understand the risks of developing cardiovascular disease, as well as which risk factors are most relevant to you. As part of this highly individualized app, users can enter basic information — like their age and whether or not they smoke — and then further customize the app's tips by including their history of conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. After entering this health data, the app provides a lifetime risk assessment for developing heart disease along with detailed information about individual risk factors and how to avoid them.

Blood Pressure Companion (Maxwell Software): Blood Pressure Companion (free) illustrates the correlation between blood pressure and weight. As you track your blood pressure and weight through this app, you get data that shows how fluctuations in pounds can affect your blood pressure readings. In addition, the app reminds you to test your blood pressure, which helps to keep the data as accurate as possible.

Blood Pressure Log — MyDiary (Zlamaniec): While this free app does not include a blood pressure monitor, it does keep detailed records to analyze trends. By entering data such as blood pressure readings, body posture, and cuff location, users create detailed graphs that can be sent to a doctor via email or used to generate reports in Excel spreadsheets or MS Word documents. Users can also track their glucose levels, weight, and oxygen saturation with this app.

Blood Pressure Monitor (Taconic System LLC):This app allows users to monitor their blood sugar and blood pressure levels, as well as their weight. You can enter the medications you use and your daily diet in order to get statistical reports on vital functions. In addition, the free app allows you to easily email health data to your physician.

Cardiio (Cardiio Inc.): Cardiio (free) helps users determine their ideal heart rate and, as they monitor their progress, lets them know when they're experiencing abnormalities. In addition, Cardiio shows how your heart rate measures up against others, like an Olympic athlete or someone living on an island. The app also has a seven-minute workout routine.

Cardiograph (MacroPinch Ltd.): Cardiograph ($1.99) makes heart health a family affair. By using the same type of technology found in a doctor's office, this app allows multiple users to track their heart rhythm by taking a picture of their fingertip. In addition, the app includes fun facts and trivia to help you learn about heart health in an entertaining way.

Health Mate (Withings): Users can find out their blood pressure trends and real-time data through Health Mate, which includes a health pressure monitor. The app is free, but the blood pressure monitor can be purchased for $129.95.

Healthy Heart 2 (Ringful LLC): If you are at high risk for developing heart disease, you can track your blood pressure, glucose, potassium, and cholesterol levels with this free app. In addition, you can enter information about your medications and behavioral factors that might contribute to the possibility of developing heart disease.

Instant Heart Rate (Azumio Inc.): Through Instant Heart Rate ($2.99), you can monitor your heart rate as you exercise, while avoiding putting too much stress on your heart. In addition, this app allows you to make comparisons about your heart rate during different activities. From running to resting and everything in between, Instant Heart Rate provides data that gives you an idea of when you're making your target heart rate — and when you're not.

Kardia Mobile (AliveCor Inc.): Kardia Mobile is a $99 product, which can be used with Android and Apple devices, designed for those who already have a history of cardiovascular problems. This compact tool allows users to record a medical-grade EKG in less than a minute and send data to a doctor to diagnose possible atrial fibrillation. In addition, Kardia Mobile tracks sleep, exercise, and dietary habits, as well as shortness of breath.

MotionX 24/7 (MotionX): Those who want to monitor their heart health while they're awake and asleep use MotionX 24/7 ($0.99). For daily monitoring, you can compile data on weekly and monthly heart-rate highs and lows, as well as get information on heart rates during exercise and rest. In addition, MotionX 24/7 has a motion sensor that tracks sleep habits, a microphone to detect snoring, and a smart alarm. This app also has a pedometer function to help users track heart health data on multiple fronts.

Smart Blood Pressure (SmartBP) BP Tracker (Evolve Medical Systems LLC):This free app is particularly helpful for those who either have heart disease or are at high risk of developing it. Through SmartBP, patients can record their systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as their pulse, and easily share that data with their doctor. It also has a feature that tracks body mass index, helping those who want to lose weight meet their goals.