If you're like me, your smartphone is one of your best friends. It keeps your schedule, makes sure you never miss an important email, helps you keep tabs on your kids -- and increases your thumb dexterity.
But smartphones aren't just for emailing, texting or even talking anymore. The flood of "apps" (applications) -- software programs made by third-party developers that you can download onto your phone -- allows users to do everything from making a Cosmopolitan to learning to speak Russian.
No one's denying that a bartender app doesn't come in handy. But there are also numerous apps that can help you improve your health -- and perhaps even lose a few pounds.
Here's our top 10 list of health apps to consider getting now.
Developer: Fit Now Inc.
Remember that resolution to eat healthy or lose weight? LoseIt! will help you get -- or stay -- on track. By setting calorie and exercise goals and recording your daily progress, or searching the extensive food database for healthy snacks, this free app is waist- and budget-friendly.
My Pain Diary
Developer: Damon Lynn
Chronic pain experienced with conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, and back injuries can now be tracked and shared with doctors and therapists. This app not only lets you enter information relating to pain, but it also exports a printable summary to take to your next doctor's appointment.
Developer: Fresh Lens
Keep track of all your family's health records, prescriptions, routine screenings and immunizations with one touch on your touch screen. FamilyCare also delivers personalized health information and news and lets you maintain independent health profiles, including your age, height, weight, body-mass index (or BMI), personal history and diagnosed medical conditions for each family member. Want to keep tabs on your flex spending account? FamilyCare does that, too.
Developer: Healthy U Technologies
Whether you're diabetic or following the Atkins or South Beach diet, CarbTracker will help you set, track, and monitor your low carbohydrate daily goals. CarbTracker boasts one of the largest accurate searchable databases in the App Store, featuring over 65,000 unique grocery and restaurant foods items. It also allows users the opportunity to add their own custom food items, then share it with others by submitting it to Healthy U Technologies.
It's usually attributed to grandmas and Great Aunt Sallys, but hearing loss affects Americans of all ages. The uHear app lets users test their hearing to determine if it's within normal range or if they have potential hearing loss. Hearing sensitivity determines the quietest sounds you can hear while another component assesses your ability to understand speech amidst background noise and chatter.
Developer: Reuven Moshkovich
Ever wonder just how many steps you take in a day, or if you're anywhere near the recommended 10,000 doctors say you should take daily? The Playing Pedometer accurately tracks your steps no matter where you carry your phone. So your steps are still counted, even if your phone is in your pocket. There's also a chime feature that tells you when you've hit your goal.
Eat this, Not that
Developer: Rodale, Inc. based on the book series Eat This, Not That
Eating out just got easier. With the menus of more than 13,000 menu items, this app helps your diet stay on track when you're dining out, giving you access to information on the best and worst restaurant foods.
Developer: Lepeng Li
Stress is a major contributor to high blood pressure. But now you can keep your heart healthy and shut the world out by reducing your stress with this relaxation app. The Sounds of Nature collection includes ocean surf, waterfalls and delicately chirping birds, all aimed at helping you achieve your Zen and relieve your stress.
Developer: Health Map
Take the guess work out of wondering if the flu is in your own backyard. This app alerts you to outbreaks of influenza and H1N1 in your neighborhood or at your travel destination.
Pocket First Aid & CPR from the American Heart Association
Developer: Jive Media
Whether you're at home, on the road or in the woods, this app delivers up-to-date information on emergency procedures, such as how to perform CPR, what to do if you're burned or bleeding, and how to care for someone who is unconscious. It also lets you create a first-aid checklist and store your information for quick retrieval.