There's an app for everything these days and your health is no different. According to the LA Times, there are currently over 6,000 health apps available to smartphone-owning consumers.
Most of the apps are inexpensive or even free, and they offer anything from first aid instructions to tips on exercising.
According to the times, doctors are concerned that people will begin using apps in place of actual medical care, because let's face it, when you're running a business or working 10-12 hour days, that doesn't leave a lot of time for much else. But how do you know which apps are reliable? How do you know which ones will give you good information? One way is to discuss the app with your doctor. Another way is to look at reviews from other consumers. But ultimately, there is no exact way to know.
As far as apps go, the LA Times reports that 80% of the apps are iPhone-only. Android has around 500 and BlackBerry has even less. However, as the smartphone app business continues to grow, more apps are expected to be created. If you have a Droid and want an app that's on the iPhone, check and see if there is something that compares to it, or maybe even email the company that created the app and ask if they have plans to make one in the future.
Finally, the LA Times suggests a number of apps that they tested and like and if you're looking to improve your health with a little help from your phone, you might want to start with a few of these. They include:
The American Heart Association's Pocket First Aid & CPR App - For just $3.99, iPhone and Android users can have first aid at their fingertips. Not only was the app reviewed by several physicians, but the app is produced by a reputable group - the AHA.
LoseIt! Calorie Tracker - If you're an iPhone user trying to lose a few pounds, this free app is for you. Simply type in what you're eating and it'll tell you how many calories are in it. It even comes with exercise tips.
Medic ID - This app for Android is just $1.50 and it allows you to key in your medical history, insurance information, and emergency contacts for medical professionals to access in the event of an emergency.
iTriage - Another free app for iPhone users, iTriage helps you find your closes doctor, hospital or pharmacy, as well as give you real-time updates on wait time at your local emergency rooms.
HEARTifacts - Created by students at the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio, this app allows you to locate the closest automatic external defibrillator in the event of cardiac arrests.
For more information on these apps and more, check out the LA Times.
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