As a health-focused month, February is quite simply packed. In addition to Valentine's Day, we have National Condom Month (coincidence? I think not), National Dental Month, National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, National Cancer Prevention Month and American Heart Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the number one killer in the country today. Each year, nearly three-quarters of a million Americans will endure that sum of all fears experience: a heart attack. One in every four deaths annually can be traced back to heart disease.

Now that I’m finally starting to figure out how to use my smart phone (which, for the record, is way smarter than I am), I decided I might as well do some Heart Month research to find out the best apps to help me monitor my heart's health since heart disease runs in my family. If you ever worry about your heart or wonder if you’re taking good enough care of it, I hope these apps will help you too.

1. Instant Heart Rate

Instant Heart Rate guides you through the basics of identifying your target heart rate and monitors your heart when you exercise, feel stressed or just want to do a daily check. All you need to use it is a smart phone and your own fingertip (placing it on your phone's camera gives you an instant heart rate reading).

2. Stress Check

Stress Check is an app that helps you identify stressful moments and their triggers. It then shows you ways to act quickly in order to bring stress down. This is important because researchers have identified a clear link between stress and the onset or worsening of heart disease.

3. Healthy Heart 2  

  • Get it only on iPhone  (free)

Healthy Heart 2 is recommended by the AARP as one of the best apps for individuals at risk for heart disease. This app is free, and it helps you monitor your blood glucose levels, blood pressure, pulse, potassium, medications and cholesterol.

4. Healthy Heart Numbers

Yes, Healthy Heart Numbers is pricier than most—BUT, you can monitor many more aspects of your overall health. If you’re diagnosed with heart disease or have a strong family history, it may be worth the investment! This app lets you monitor your LDL, HDL, triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels (these are what the app calls your "Healthy Heart Numbers"). Store them in the app so you can instantly pull them up at each doctor's visit. You can also keep your medications list current for appointments and in the event of an emergency.

5. Fooducate

Fooducate takes you outside vitals monitoring towards developing a heart-healthy eating plan. Cost-conscious shoppers with iPhones will LOVE both the cost of the app (free!) and how the app makes it easy to compare items by health benefit versus cost. Android users may be willing to overlook the surprising cost when learning this app won the U.S. Surgeon General Healthy App Challenge and has been featured by Oprah, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and others.

6. HeartWise

HeartWise is cheap, but please note that you can only use it if you have accessories that aren’t free. The reason it’s even listed here is because the app has received rave reviews from nearly every search configuration I performed. Doctors love it, reviewers love it, and patients love it. Probably because if you’ve been diagnosed with a condition that requires you to take your blood pressure while on the go, this app makes it super easy to do that and to submit the results to your doctor right away. You can go to your local drugstore or the Apple store (for iPhone users) to buy a compatible blood pressure cuff.

7. Heart Pal

Heart Pal isn’t just a blood pressure checker, but it also comes with a handy pill reminder tool so you never again forget to take your medication on time. You can also store password-protected, personal health data and email your health stats directly to your doctor. There are two versions—free and paid. The free version is the same as the paid version except you’re more limited in the number of entries you can store.

8. iTriage

iTriage is that app you hope you’ll never need, but if you do need it for yourself or a loved one, it can literally be a lifesaver. Just by knowing the symptoms of a heart attack and installing this app, you can locate the nearest emergency room and help you mock up a diagnosis of your symptoms while you’re en route.