Ticker Tech: Managing Heart Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year – that’s one in every four deaths. February is American Heart Month, the perfect time to start taking charge of heart health. By using our wireless devices, such as smartphones and tablets, people can be healthier and more heart smart.

Innovative apps, such as Stress Check Pro, easily measure a user’s heart rate variability and stress level when he or she places a finger over the smartphone’s camera lens. Stress is one of the contributing factors to high blood pressure. Those with high stress levels can try to reduce stress through exercise and relaxation techniques, according to WebMD.

According to the American Heart Association, unhealthy behaviors like smoking, or poor eating and exercise habits contribute to heart disease. With Lose It!, users can keep a log of their eating and exercise, keeping their weight loss goals on track. Setting fitness goals to work toward, such as running a 5K, can also help people stay motivated. The Couch to 5K app provides a fun training plan for beginning runners and provides support through interactive coaches and a social community.

Smart accessories such as the Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker can help users monitor activity throughout the day. The tiny wireless device clips to a belt or arm band to track movements and report activity. The motion-detecting sensor digitally records distance walked or ran and calories burned.

Heart-healthy eating means cutting back on sodium and unhealthy fats, and increasing fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Apps, like Healthy Recipes by SparkRecipes, offer thousands of recipe options with detailed nutritional information, making it easy to stick to a low-sodium, low-fat diet. Cigarette smokers are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than non-smokers, according to the CDC. Quitting can reduce this risk, and The National Cancer Institute’s QuitPal app can help by tracking milestones and money saved.

With a smartphone in hand, users have the tools and motivation they need for a healthier heart.