Using Health Apps

health app adviceAny thing new can be daunting and so it is with the concept of using health and fitness apps. Though relatively new, applications that can be downloaded onto your smart phone and tablet have mushroomed in importance.  It is no longer necessary to wait to see your doctor to check up on yourself to see how you are doing.  But far from being a replacement for a doctor, health apps are a powerful tool for you and your doctor to monitor your health continually and away from the doctor’s office.  So here are a few tips to consider:

  • As stated above, health apps do not replace your doctor but provide information to share with your doctor. Knowledge is power and more doctors are starting to recommend self-monitoring for their patients health trouble spots.  How often have you heard the term “white coat syndrome” and its opposite “masked hypertension?” (the phenomenon in which your blood pressure rises, or drops, in a clinical setting, giving the doctor’s only a false blood pressure baseline with which to work.  If you only go in once or twice a year and the doctor doesn’t trust his blood pressure reading, you may be mistreated.
  • Before choosing any app decide on your goal(s).  Don’t start by searching available apps and choosing something interesting.  What are your personal issues?  What have you and your doctor discussed?  This is your starting point.
  • Start simple (and free).  There are so many choices and you are probably not used to the whole self-monitoring concept.  Pick one goal and find, with our help if you’d like, a free, single-purpose app.  Some apps can do about everything but it takes a real commitment to learn their system.  Start simple and as you become well acquainted with the process, the app, and your personal needs then search for more complicated, powerful apps if you see the need.
  • Apps basically only monitor.  It’s your job to decide on what action needs to be taken. Then the app becomes your ability to chart progress towards your goal and that’s powerful.
  • Keep it sustainable.  In other words, set up a monitoring program that you can stick to.  Build on small successes.  Don’t try to do too much too soon.  Any success is good.  If you’ve never run before and you want to start with your new app, begin by walking and build up.  With this in mind you need and app that is good with walking as well as running.  Be sure to talk with your doctor if you’re concerned about what you are trying to do.
  • Get friends and family involved.  It’s always been noted that peer pressure and accountability can be good things.  Post your results on a social sharing site for all your sympathetic friends/family to see.  Also some apps give you the ability to directly measure yourself against others using the app.  Find others who have similar goals and work together.
  • Share your information with your doctor, good or bad.
  • Finally, it’s your health, take responsibility and make something happen.  Well chosen health apps could be your key.

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