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9 Apps for healthy living

Saturday, 26 July 2014 - 7:30am IST Updated: Friday, 25 July 2014 - 11:35pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Staying healthy is now on your fingertips! Be it tracking blood pressure levels, buying cheaper medicines or keeping track of your menstrual cycle, all the right health apps are available, free of cost, on phones. But you need to be 'smart' enough to use them... Maitri Porecha explains...

1. Healthkart Plus
The next time a doctor prescribes you expensive medicines, investigate whether you are being compelled to pay through your nose when cheaper options are available. You just need to punch in the brand name of the medicine after downloading app Healthkart Plus. It will throw up all the alternate brands (that have the same pharmaceutical composition) with their prices. It also highlights the fatal/normal side-effects of these medicines.  

Antibiotic Augmentin, manufactured by Glaxosmith Kline, which is used to treat bacterial infections, costs Rs 141 a strip of six tablets (Rs 23.5 per tab). The same drug (ingredients: Amoxicillin and Clavulanic acid) is sold by Pfizer Ltd under the name Warclav Duo at Rs 8.28 per tab, which means it's 65% cheaper than Augmentin. 

A warning: Always seek your doctor's advice after you come across cheaper options, and buy them only on prescription.

2. Noom Walk: Pedometer
This fabulous app counts the number of steps you take 24×7 automatically. It then alerts you when you have reached your daily count of ideal number of steps. Ideally, a person should walk 10,000 steps a day, or burn 600 more calories than his/her calorie (food) intake a day. Because of our sedentary lifestyle, we generally do not walk over 2,000-5,000, a day.

The best thing about Noom Walk: Pedometer is that it consumes not more than 2% of the fully charged cell phone's battery (which amounts to 20 minutes of a screen display or three minutes of Global Positioning System). It also helps you maintain a network of friends you can encourage with comments and high fives. 

3. Calorie Counter
The app has over 30 lakh food items in its database and you can punch in your daily diet history. Armed with your age, gender and weight, it directs you on the amount (kilos) of weight you need to shed in the time-frame you desire. It tracks the amount of exercise you do and lets you know if you can indulge in an occasional treat or not.

4. AskMD
It enables you to consult a doctor whenever you want. AskMD has an option for checking symptoms that you may be reeling under and it then offers you a range of health problems that may match your symptoms. A series of detailed questions follow: you will be asked how long you have been having those symptoms and their severity.

A warning: Always take such virtual tips with a pinch of salt. Such an app may satiate the initial curiosity of a patient, but seeing a doctor is the best option.

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5. First Aid
This app will come in handy during emergencies. First Aid has a feature through which you can feed the contact number of a person who should be intimated in an emergency. It also provides tips to tackle life-threatening situations—cardiac attacks, shocks, wounds, bleeding, seizures, poisoning, frost bite, heat wave, etc. It helps you recognize symptoms/problems and suggests treatment through a video demonstration that has subtitles (multiple languages) and sign language.

6. Doctor at Home
It has multiple home remedies (for common ailments and minor illnesses) that seldom have side effects. It enlists things that can be used to cure, for example, common cold: honey, clove or ginger. It has multiple categories – eye, hair, nails, lips, obesity, skin and general—which have been tagged to ailments and disorders, as also the list of things that can used for treating them. 

7. Period Tracker
Irregular menstruation cycles can play havoc with a woman's life. You can log on to Period Tracker the dates of your period every month, and it will calculate the average for three months and predict when the next period will start. You can also track your days of ovulation, fertility, moods and symptoms in the monthly calendar.

8. Water Your Body
Drinking water is very essential for maintaining good health. This app reminds you, through a gurgling alarm sound, how much water you need to consume through the rest of the day. You can customize consumption in milliliters depending on the amount of water you need. It maintains graphs of your consumption levels and displays a (ideal) chart to help you reach your perfect-intake level. 

9. Relax Machine
For those who don't get enough sleep, which upsets their circadian rhythm, Relax Machine may just be the answer. It soothes one's nerves through sound: one can choose from sound of instrumental tunes of waves crashing on the beach to frogs or cicadas rustling in the green.

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