The message that a healthy lifestyle helps protect your heart isn’t new. If you’d like to do more to take care of your heart, here are 10 ways technology can make that easier.
1. Stop smoking.
Apps such as Smoke Reducer for Android, and iQuit for iPhone can help you wean off tobacco. You can also use the Firefox add-on Quitomzilla, which shows you how much money you save by not smoking, the number of cigarettes not smoked, and the overall time since your last smoke.
2. Stay within a healthy weight range.
Make it easier to monitor your weight-loss progress with the iHealth Wireless Scale. You can track your weight over time, and see results in relation to daily activity, time of day, diet, exercise, and more. The scale lets you set a milestone and share your results with doctors, fitness buddies and family. The free companion iHealth Scale app works with iPod touch, iPhone and iPad. Learn more at www.ihealth99.com.
3. Limit alcohol and caffeine.
Keep track of how much you’re drinking with the DrinkControl or Alcohol Monitor apps for iPhone, or the SoberApp for Android. They estimate your blood alcohol content and let you know whether or not you should drive. To monitor your caffeine intake, try the Caffeine Zone 2 for iPhone and iPad, or the Caffeine Monitor app for Android.
4. Take care of your teeth.
Research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. Go online and check the American Dental Association’s database at www.ADA.org to find oral health care products that have the ADA seal of approval. At the ADA website, you can also watch videos on a variety of oral health care topics.
5. Keep tabs on your blood pressure.
The Mayo Clinic recommends you monitor your blood pressure at home and visit your doctor regularly. With the iHealth Blood Pressure Dock, (www.ihealth99.com), you can accurately measure your blood pressure, track your readings over time, and share that information with healthcare providers, friends and family members. The Dock comes with a blood pressure arm cuff and doubles as a charging station for your iPod touch, iPhone and iPad. The companion iHealth app is available for free.
6. Reduce stress.
Try a portable biofeedback device, like the StressEraser, to help you relax by synchronizing your breathing and your heart rate. If having too much on your plate and too many interruptions causes you stress, try Quiet Hours. It lets you shut down your computer’s communication apps, like instant messaging, for a specified period of time.
7. Exercise regularly.
The Online Activity Tracker from the American Heart Health Association lets you create a personalized walking plan, log time or distance traveled, plot and save walking routes, and more. Check it out at www.startwalkingnow.org. You can also use the AHA Walking Paths app for Android and iPhone.
8. Eat right.
Tracking the foods you consume helps you better understand your caloric and nutritional intake. The Lose It! app for the iPhone allows you to enter and track your meals and snacks, and keep track of your weight loss progress and goals via the app, as well as access your account online. Visit www.loseit.com for more information. Offering many of the same capabilities, Android phone users can use the Diet Assistant app at www.dietassistantapp.com.
9. Make sleep a priority.
Not getting enough sleep can raise your blood pressure and make it more likely you’ll have a stroke or heart attack. Learn more about your sleep patterns with a sleep monitor. You can try a headband monitor, such as the Zeo, (www.myzeo.com), or an armband monitor such as the SleepTracker, (www.sleeptracker.com). Each keeps track of your sleep cycle and helps you wake up at the optimal time.
10. Know your family history.
Knowing your family’s medical history can help you identify patterns that might be relevant to your own heart health. There are a number of online tools such as My Family Health Portrait at https://FamilyHistory.hhs.gov to help you gather and store that information. (Family Features)