10 Best Health Apps

Can an iPhone app save your life?  Just ask Dan Woolley, who was trapped under the rubble of his hotel after an earthquake, with blood streaming from his leg and head. Luckily, he had an app for that.

Following instructions from the Pocket First Aid & CPR app, he bandaged his leg with his shirt, then used his belt as a tourniquet. To halt the head bleeding, he pressed his sock against the wound. The app warned him not to fall asleep, to avoid going into shock, so he set his iPhone alarm to ring every 20 minutes.

His phone "was like a high-tech version of a Swiss Army knife that enabled me to treat my own injuries, track time, stay awake and stay alive,” until he was rescued 65 hours later, the dad of two sons told CNN.

Nearly 26 percent of Americans now use their phones to track their health, manage chronic conditions, diagnose symptoms, improve their diet and fitness, and improve their medical care. Here are 10 very cool apps to help you take charge of your health.

Check out these 11 ways to reduce your healthcare costs.

1. My Diet Diary-Calorie Counter

To help you slim down, My Diet Diary tracks your food (including calculating calories and personalized nutritional needs using a database of 150,000 foods), exercise, water consumption, and how your actual weight is trending against your goal weight. You can share your progress on social media and graph your results.

2. RunKeeper

To boost your motivation, RunKeeper turns your mobile device into smart run or fitness tracker, using the GPS to track the speed, distance and duration of your workouts. You can calculate calories burned, share your results on social media, get audio feedback as to whether you are on your target pace, and create a personal data dashboard on the runkeeper.com site.

3. Epocrates Rx

Widely used by doctors, this free drug reference tool provides details on thousands of medications. Not only can you look up potential side effects on Epocrates Rx, but if you take more than one medication, you can also check for potentially dangerous interactions and confirm drug coverage for many health plans, including Medicare Part D. And if you sometimes forget to take your medications, also check out RxmindMe, a free app that lets you create 9 types of reminders.

4. iTriage

Developed by emergency physicians, iTriage lets you look up symptoms and possible causes, tap into a national directory of ERs, doctors, urgent care centers, and clinics, use your phone’s GPS to identify the closest medical facilities and get driving directions. This free app is designed to answer 2 questions: “What’s wrong with me?” and “Where can I get treatment?”

5. KidneyDiet

If you’re one of the 20 million Americans with chronic kidney disease, your doctor has probably told you to watch the potassium, protein, phosphorus and salt in your diet. The KidneyDiet app provides nutritional data on thousands of foods, including brand name products and menu items from some chain restaurants, to help you make the best choices. Foods that might be harmful for people on a kidney diet are highlighted in red.

6. QuitGuide

Want to quit smoking? Developed by the National Cancer Institute, QuitGuide helps you prepare to kick the habit, provides support during the days and weeks after you quit, and discusses the challenges you may experience. For more free resources, visit smokefree.gov.

What happens when you quit smoking? See the results.

7. WaveSense Diabetes Manager

This free app lets you track blood sugar levels, carb intake, and insulin doses. WaveSense Diabetes Manager provides color-coded results—making it easy to see if your glucose results are in the high or low ranges—is customizable with target ranges, lets you tag your results with info on food, exercise, medication or health issues, and email reports to your healthcare team.

8. PTSD Coach

Up to 20 percent of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD. Created by the VA and Department of Defense, PTSD Coach, a free iPhone and Android app, delivers information on the disorder and a self-assessment, along with insights into treatments and coping tools. Users can upload their contacts, photos and music.

9. AsthmaMD

AsthmaMD can track your asthma triggers, map “severity zones,” share your data with your doctor, and help researchers study asthma by pooling real-time data from thousands of patients through secure “cloud” storage.

10. Sleep on It

Rest assured that you’ll wake up on time. The free Sleep on It app combines an alarm clock with a variety of sounds with clever features to track how the duration and quality of your slumber is impacting your health and mood. You can record medications, symptoms, and naps to see which factors may explain poor sleep and generate graphs of overall sleep trends and hours snoozed in the last 7, 30, and 90 days.

Cross these five common sleep myths off your list.

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Get the information you need to improve your health and wellness on Healthline.com.

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