1. Microsoft HealthVault
Keeping track of your medical records can be quite a task. Thankfully, HealthVault lets you store this data online, letting you access it wherever you are and with a simple internet connection.
You can sign up for the free service using your MSN Live account, or you could create a fresh ID. Once you're in, you can enter data related to your cholesterol and blood glucose levels, keep a history of your allergies and medications, upload medical images; record your doctors' appointments, post your insurance and emergency contact details, and even chart your weight over the last three months and your blood pressure over the last half year.
The service works with myriad medical apps such as Fitbit, MHR India, HealthVault Connection Center, myFitnessCompanion, GetFit RoadTrip, Lab Test Results, etc. You can choose apps that add data to HealthVault and apps that use your data in HealthVault to help you stay motivated, analyze trends, and receive recommendations to keep you at your best.
Additionally, MHV also works with over 160 medical devices - blood pressure monitors, pedometers, glucometers, and more - to gather valuable information.
The site also lets you create profiles for your family members under one account - and it even lets you provide trusted access to doctors and caregivers.
If you have a Facebook and Twitter account already, there's no reason why you shouldn't have one on HealthVault. The benefits here are far greater.
2. My Life Check, Heart
You lead a sedentary life with horrible dietary habits, and you feel much older than you are. Well, if you're seeking to make a change in your lifestyle, then My Life Check, Heart is the go-to resource.
After you provide an e-mail ID, the site asks you to choose a resolution - get active, eat better, lose wait, stop smoking, control cholesterol, manage blood pressure, or reduce blood sugar - from a drop-down menu. You are then led to a simple, multiple-choice questionnaire (keep your blood pressure readings, cholesterol level information at hand) that helps you understand your current level of cardiovascular health, assess your personal health needs, and even encourages you to move closer to your health goal.
The quiz - based on the expertise of The American Heart Association - gauges your health status by studying the answers you have provided to questions that pertain to the 'Simple 7': blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar, smoking status, healthy weight, physical activity, and healthy diet.
My Life Check, Heart accordingly awards you a heart score (between 0-10 where 0 is worst case, and 10 is the best), and it also provides you with suggestions, or resolutions you can follow that will help you improve your Simple 7 scores. You are also presented with a printable "report card" to remind you of your resolutions.
Since maintaining your health is an ongoing process, the site recommends that you periodically return to assess you heart health regularly. A great way to keep an eye on that ticker of yours.
Of course, to guarantee a healthy heart, you will need to get off your chair, and start working out. But starting an exercise regimen and then sticking to it are two different things. Fitocracy is a social network that motivates you to reach your fitness goals through community and personal guidance. Sign up for an account, and you are asked to choose your purpose: weight loss, strength training, cardio, etc.
After you choose, the service hooks you up with some 'friends' and 'groups' to help you on your way. It provides you with a Facebook-like profile page where you can create posts with text, pictures and videos.
Join a recommended group, and you are introduced to people who have goals similar to yours. Fitocracy also provides you with workout ideas, and you can save the routines you have successfully completed to plot your success.
You can read how everyone is coping, post your own progress, and even send words of encouragement to others, just like others will encourage you. And along the way, you can even earn achievement badges.
Ah yes, this health social network site even has its own apps for Android and iOS devices.
4. Heart Healthy Online
Heart Healthy Online is a great resource for those who have just suffered a heart attack, and also for those who are at risk of one.
It starts at the basics with a primer on how the heart works (function and facts), and it also includes an exhaustive glossary that takes the guesswork out of complicated doctor-speak (What is a stent? What are triglycerides? How is congestive heart failure different from regular heart failure?).
Furthermore, it is divided into sections that inform you about signs and symptoms (are those chest pains a sign of heartburn or a heart attack?), conditions and diseases (causes and treatments), and tests (health care, medications, etc).
HHO also provides you with information on cardiac rehab (tips for after you've had an attack) and even on how to manage your stress levels.
Best of all, realizing that dietary changes are one of the toughest to make for any patient, this resource is also home to healthy recipes, nutrition tips, and meal plans (soups, salad and sandwiches, top 10 power foods, 30-minute recipes, et al). And in case you're wondering, you can be assured that you're getting information that's up-to-date and accurate: HHO consults experts about the stories they publish, including their very own advisory team that includes scientists, specialist doctors, medical professors and dieticians. Ah yes, you can also sign up for a free newsletter that sends smart tips directly to your e-mail.
You are what you eat. That extra samosa, the peanuts you munch, or even that slice of cake at the office party - all of it adds to your calorie intake. MyFitnessPal has a handy Calorie Counter that helps you record what you consume. First, you need to key in basic information like age, height, etc.
The app then asks if you want to maintain, decrease or increase your current weight. It also asks you about your lifestyle habits: whether it's sedentary, or if you have a more active schedule that involves moving about. Depending on your inputs, MyFitnessPal sets a daily calorie intake for you. After that, regularly update the app with the food you have eaten, and it automatically adds up the calories. Common Indian dishes like aloo paratha, medu wada and Maggi noodles are also listed. Besides, you can always add items manually.
You can also add your exercise routine, which is used to subtract the amount of calories burned from your daily total. Furthermore, you can track your progress with the app's reports.
Android, BlackBerry 4.5+, iOS, Windows Phone 7.5+ | Free
Many fitness studies extol the virtues of walking or running to keep the heart healthy and strong. What is required is an app like RunKeeper to keep a tab on your daily jogs. It uses your smartphone's GPS to map the route you take - and while it does this, it also measures the speed at which you are walking or cycling, in real time. With this information, Run-Keeper is able to calculate the distance you cover every day, giving you an estimate of the calories you have burned.
These logs can be referred to whenever required; all you need to do is create a RunKeeper account and set goals. The app also has its share of fun: It lets you control your music while on a run, take pictures along the way, and share personal achievements on social networks or with RunKeeper friends.
Android, iOS | Free