Maintaining a health journal
There are many details and queries regarding your health that you like to share with your physician. As you must have usually experienced, these often slip off your mind when you begin conversing with your doctor. A better approach to deal with this is to maintain a health journal. This is not only useful while communicating with your doctor, but also helpful to study the whole medical picture in detail.
Health journal is nothing but a record or a diary of your health concerns. You can write it as you want, may be on a daily basis or according to the occurrence of symptoms. You can use your own language and interpret it to the reader when required. You can even write in a formal manner so that others can also understand. However, care should be taken that it should not be too technical and not directly lead towards a particular diagnosis or treatment. It is better to use technical terms only when writing about doctor’s diagnosis and advice. It is necessary that you make a note of your complaints and other related medical details.
Points to include
Once you have decided to write a health journal, the next question is what to write. Some of the points that you need to include are:
- Present complaints
Make a note of your existing medical complaints and their details. They way they began, the progression and any other symptoms that are associated with them.
- Past history
Mention about your medical illnesses that have occurred in the past and in your family. Write about any injuries, surgeries or drug allergies that you have suffered from.
- Treatment taken
Write about the treatment that you have taken for your complaints. Make the sure the name and dosage of medicines is correct. Mention even the alternative treatment or home remedies that you have taken.
- Any medical therapy
Mention about any other treatment modes like physical therapy, any other treatment or similar have been used.
- Changes in complaints
Keep a track of your complaints and record any changes in their nature with or without medicines.
- Previous instructions
Keep a record of any treatment or instructions given by previous physician or any medical personnel.
- Diet and regimen
Make a note of details regarding your diet, sleep, exercise, daily routine, nature of work and work environment.
- Mental stress
Write down about your feelings and emotions, about your home and work environment. Write about any instances when you felt very happy, sad or angry.
Some of the advantages of maintaining a health journal are:
- You become aware of your complaints, needs and queries.
- There are fewer chances of you forgetting your concerns to be discussed.
- It helps you to present a clear picture of your medical illness.
- It helps in diagnosis and treatment of your illness thus giving you better medical care.
- It aids in better communication with your physician.
- It saves time at both ends.
- It remains as a record for ever and can be referred to at a later stage when required.