May was Stroke Awareness Month. In trying to increase stroke awareness and the resources that exist for stroke survivors, there are several apps that you can use to both prevent and manage stroke symptoms. These free apps can be found on Google Play or the Apple App store.
Let’s use the power of technology to decrease the up to 80% of strokes that are preventable! The American Stroke Association also has great toolkits for individuals and organizations to help prevent and provide educational resources related to stroke. Visit the American Stroke Association for more information.
Apps for Preventing and Managing Stroke
* HF Path
This app by the American Heart Association is a self-management tool for individuals with Heart Failure. Those with heart failure are at greater short-term and long-term risk for strokes of all sub-types compared to the general population. Managing your heart failure can assist in further prevention of stroke.
* Blood Pressure (BP) Watch
With this app, you can collect, track and analyze your blood pressure record over time, identify trends and share information with your provider. High blood pressure increases risk for stroke due to damage caused in the arteries throughout the body, which weakens the walls and creates conditions where these arteries can burst or clog more easily. Blood pressure management is critical to reducing stroke risk.
* Medisafe: Pill Reminder and Medication Tracker
Managing health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can often be done by changes to an individual’s lifestyle. When that’s not possible, or not enough to make the necessary changes, medication might be used for management of these conditions. This app provides medication information, education and reminders to take and refill medications so an individual is not without the necessary medication to manage these conditions that, uncontrolled, can lead to stroke.
An app by the National Stroke Association, Foodsmarts provides guidance and personalized nutrition support in choosing food and recipes that will reduce the risk of stroke. Individual dietary preferences as well as food choices that consider someone’s chronic diseases are considered.
* Diabetes: M
This app is a comprehensive reminder system for blood glucose checks, blood sugar tracker and nutrition database. Individuals with diabetes are 1.5 times more likely to experience a stroke. Management of diabetes using technology is one way to try to keep blood glucose in check to reduce your risk.
* Breath Ball
The Stress Relief Breathing Exercise—This app uses the visual of a ball to work toward improved stress relief through harnessing the breath and slowing down the breathing. In Austrian rehabilitation facilities, a simple five second inhale and exhale pattern is used to help patients manage their stress. You can also create new breathing exercises and adjust them to your daily needs. As a risk factor for stroke, breathing and mindfulness exercises can assist in reducing stress and overall system inflammation that increases stroke risk.
* For Clinicians: Via Therapy
Uses Stroke guidelines to provide clinicians with upper extremity resources and therapies for patients that have experienced a stroke. The app uses questions to narrow down the needs of the patient based on their presentation. Virtual reality solutions like the Neofect Smart Glove and Smart Board are indicated for patients that have some voluntary movement along with task specific practice and motor imagery which are also concepts incorporated in Neofect Smart Rehab solutions.
- Lauren Sheehan, OTD, OTR/LLauren is an occupational therapist, adjunct professor, therapy community builder and product manager based out of San Francisco, CA. Lauren works as a Field Clinical Manager for Neurolutions.