There is an importance of compiling a medical history, and while a record of your medical history is essential to your doctor-patient relationship, there are even more ways to improve on it.
One of those ways is by keeping a health journal, which is a very detailed record of your daily activities, diet, medications, and feelings.
Reasons to keep a health journal:
A health journal can be a great way to keep track of the general state of your body, the effectiveness of your current lifestyle, and weight loss progress. The ability to look back on your previous activities and food consumption provides an accurate and expansive window through which you can assess your habits, and make decisions based off of the information you’ve collected.
Many people with chronic pain or concerning symptoms rely on a health journal to stay on top of their medical issues and improve communication with their physicians. Cross-referencing flare-ups and symptomatic occurrences with activities and foods can shed light on triggers.
What to record in your health journal:
Sleep: How did you sleep the night before? How long did you sleep? What time did you go to bed, and what did you do before you fell asleep?
Medications: If you take any medications, vitamins, or supplements, record what they are and when you take them.
Physical Activity: Any exercise or out-of-the-ordinary strenuous activity can have a significant impact on your health, and should definitely be included.
Symptoms: Any physical symptoms you experience should be recorded in detail. What time you experience them and the level of severity and length should be noted.
Food/Drink: Record anything you consume throughout the day, and be as detailed as possible. What did you eat, and how much? Where did you eat? Who prepared the food?
Emotions: Health is about more than simply the physical aspects. Being aware of your mood and recording any drastic changes is essential to health tracking.
Helpful hints/how to get started:
Talk to your doctor. Even if you are starting a journal simply for general health observation, it can be very helpful to ask your doctor what to include. Based on your medical history, he or she might have specific concerns or insight that will aid in accuracy and effectiveness.
Find a journal that works for you. The options for a health journal are endless. Even something as simple as a one subject notebook with each day’s date at the top of the page can work if that’s a format that you favor. There are also options for printable journal pages, and even apps that keep all of your information on your smart device.
Keep your journal in an easily-accessible place. Whether it’s your kitchen, purse, or bathroom, keep your health journal in a place that you frequently visit or use. The kitchen is usually ideal, because foods, beverages, and medicines are often found there. Recording what you eat is much easier when the diary is close to the refrigerator.
Be honest. Recording false or altered information, for whatever reason, will only deter your efforts as you try to assess your health. Remember that your doctor is on your side, and that open communication is essential to the doctor/patient relationship.
We hope you’ll find these tips useful in enhancing your health care experience. We deeply value honesty between our patients and team members, and a health journal can be an incredible tool in that line of communication.