A health diary is highly recommended for those who are suffering from chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, for pregnant women, or those battling with obesity and infertility. But a perfectly healthy person can also have a personal health journal in order to document relevant information about his/her health that will come handy during unforeseen health crisis and emergencies.
Also, the practice of journal-writing itself has numerous physical, mental and emotional health benefits, so why wouldn’t you keep one?
If you’re ready to create your personal health diary, here are the things you need to include in your journal:
Your basic health information.
On the first page of your journal, you should document all your basic health information such as birthday, height & weight, blood type, allergies, your chronic illness (if you have one), specific type of diet (if you are following one) and the medicines, vitamins and supplements that you take.
This is a great aid for your first visit with a new doctor — or, for that matter, any trip to a doctor.
Your medical history.
This section will include any past hospitalizations, surgical procedures, treatments or rehabilitation, as well as your family’s medical history. Get as detailed as possible and since this is a journal, you can also write about your feelings towards this. Remember, your family history is one of the strongest influences on your risk of developing certain diseases like stroke, cancer, diabetes, etc. Recognizing the risks can have a positive effect on your own lifestyle and possibly reduce the chances of developing such health problems.
Even if you are not suffering from any health condition, it is important to take note of certain “numbers” to make sure you’re on top of your health. For this part of your journal, record your blood pressure (get a digital one so you will be able to take your own), heart rate, blood sugar levels, weight and waist size regularly.
A history of your numbers can be very valuable if you have any health problems. It will show trends that are important, and can enable your health providers to tailor your healthcare to be more effective.
The quality of your sleep.
Every morning when you wake up, make it a habit to write a quick summary of how much you slept and the quality of your sleep. Include the time when you went to bed, how long it took you to fall asleep, the times you woke up in the middle of the night and the time you woke up the next day.
This is especially important if you know (or suspect) that you have a sleeping disorder.
Your food and water intake.
Tracking what you eat and how much water you drink everyday is very important to your health. Aside from logging in all your meals, snacks and liquids for the day, make sure to also write the place where you ate and how you feel before and after you eat. Trust me, it’s more useful than you might think.
(Comment from the site owner: I have found that keeping a detailed food journal has allowed me to pinpoint some very subtle health problems. See this article.)
Your physical activities.
Whether it’s a work out or driving to a grocery store, make sure to list down all the physical activities you’ve performed that day with the corresponding time, if possible. You might see a strong enough correlation between your physical activity and your general feeling of well-being that it will motivate you to do more!
What you are feeling that day.
Now, this section is where you journal about how you felt all through out the day. Any symptoms experienced like pain, difficulty of breathing, headache, bowel movements, or anything that is “not normal” should be noted in details. For pain, pinpoint the specific location, the characteristic (dull, sharp, intermittent, etc.) and how long the pain was experienced.
This may well be the most important section of your health journal.
Your medical appointments.
Lastly, designate a page for a monthly calendar where you can easily jot down all your medical appointments for the month.