Woman Holding a SmartphoneIf you use them correctly, smartphone apps can help you live a healthier life. New apps are coming out daily and many of them are meant to help manage different aspects of your health. You can get nutritional information, order prescriptions and schedule lab work, and have health questions answered.

Smartphones are convenient in and of themselves. The addition of health apps make them even more user-friendly and helpful. The challenge is to not completely rely on them for all of your health needs. They are meant to be supportive but not replace doctor visits and consultations.

What types of health-related smartphone apps are available?

There are too many health-related apps for smartphones to list them all. However, you can get a good idea as to the types of ones that are available to help you live a healthier life. Some of the best ones to keep you truly healthy and prevent health conditions from ever occurring are smartphone apps that deal with nutrition. These health-conscious apps help you to make better choices in terms of food and nutrition.

Nutrition Lately lists its vote for the top five nutrition apps that will also not break the bank since they are free.

If you know how to read a food label, you may not need as much help as others do. However, labels can be confusing and the apps that can scan a barcode and give you all the nutritional information, both bad and good, is very helpful.

You can find apps that count calories for you, whether you are eating at home or out at a restaurant. There are also multiple apps that help you lose weight. If you have food allergies, there are apps available that will create recipes and shopping lists to help you avoid anything to which you are allergic.

Outside of nutrition, there are many apps available that are related to exercise. They may keep track of the miles that you bike or run, or they may lay out a fitness plan for you. In fact, Consumer Reports named the app Myfitnesspal as a highly rated plan for diet and exercise.

Many health-related apps can monitor certain health conditions, such as heart rate and blood glucose. Some apps are directly on the phone, while other phones hook up to the health monitor and the results are read by the app. Mobile Health News reports how health devices have evolved over the years. Although this is a good way to keep track of your health, it should not be the only way you are monitoring things.

What are the downfalls to using smartphone apps?

Smartphone apps have come a long way and they are helpful with a lot of things that can help you get and stay healthy. However, those who only depend on them can actually do more harm to themselves.

You need to keep in mind that almost anyone can develop an app. If it is not someone educated in a health-related field, they may have very little idea as to what they are doing. Even if it sounds good in theory, there should be evidence to back up the app’s claim.

A smartphone app may be okay to help extend time between visits to the doctor for healthy individuals, but you should still get wellness checks on a fairly regular basis. Those with health and medical conditions should definitely be visiting their healthcare provider regularly and not be depending on apps to heal them and monitor their progress.

Are there some smartphone health apps that you should avoid?

Although there are many beneficial smartphone apps that can help you live healthier, there are some that can actually be harmful or a waste of your time and money. An app should never replace anything completely but some are less useful than others.

Mashable explains why some apps should be avoided. One is any app that claims that the light on your phone has healing powers. The glow or light on your phone will not do anything medically so don’t believe a word of what they say.

The same concept applies to the sounds on your smartphone. There is no magical sound that your phone emits that will cure any of your health conditions.

Going along with the idea that conditions should only be diagnosed from face-to-face time with your doctor and proper tests, there is no app that you should depend on for diagnosis of any kind. This is the same with any app on your phone that claims to be able to treat any condition or disease. Proper treatment management by a licensed professional is necessary.

Don’t purchase or believe any smartphone app that claims it can calculate your medication dose. There are so many factors that go into dosages that a computer is not up to the task. For example, if you have diabetes your phone should not be in charge of how much insulin you should be taking.