Why Is Keeping Track Of Symptoms Essential?
8 Jul 2022
We often overlook mild pain or physical discomfort symptoms when we feel generally healthy and happy. Bloated stomach after eating a certain food, prolonged “dull” headache, or dry eyes after hours spent in front of the screen - these and many other “normal” inconveniences can cause a much bigger health problem.
Every one of us has been in a situation where we have ignored the signals of our body due to a busy schedule, physical inability to turn to a specialist for a consultation or examination, or simply due to our irresponsible attitude. This is especially true for young people, who can easily experience temporary discomfort or pain where they classify it as “it doesn’t matter”, or “it will pass”.
It is our own responsibility to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. We need to pay closer attention to our health and take all the steps for improvement when necessary. Our body always warns us about a problem before it occurs, so listen to it before you develop a chronic condition that might lead to more serious consequences and life changes. Here are some questions you need to answer to understand the importance of tracking your symptoms.
1. What health symptoms should you monitor? Do not ignore any signal from your body. Track all issues related to your health.
2. How often do they occur? Track whether the manifested symptom is incidental, or related to an external factor. If the irritant is removed – did the discomfort disappear, or vice versa? Does the symptom manifest itself with a certain frequency?
3. Are you experiencing new or old symptoms? Old injuries can cause pain or the development of new symptoms. New symptoms can in turn be side effects or possibly determine the further development of a disease.
4. What is the intensity of the symptom? Always measure how severe the symptoms are. Assess the level of pain, irritation, or sensitivity; what is the type of the injury, is it tingling, and are you immobilized? Take a note also for other symptoms that are currently present. Does the symptom decrease in intensity over time or become even stronger? Every detail about the level of pain would be important when visiting a doctor.
5. What triggers the symptom? Pay special attention to unusual situations such as visiting a new restaurant, or using a new cosmetic brand. Any change in your daily life can trigger a certain symptom. Treat your body with respect and minimize the levels of stress you expose it to.
6. Do additional symptoms appear that are related to the main symptom? Unlocking certain allergies can begin with the redness of the affected area. With time swelling, itching and rhinitis might be developed.
7. What type of symptoms do you have? Conventionally, symptoms are divided into three categories: remitting (they improve over time or disappear completely), chronic (prolonged or recurrent), and recurrent (symptoms that have occurred in the past, subsided, and then reappeared).
8. How does your daily life affect your symptoms? Maybe you are too busy during the day and often forget to drink water, which affects the water balance in your body. Symptoms of dehydration are often fatigue, dizziness, or even confusion. So, sometimes when you think you’re overwhelmed, you might be just very thirsty.
9. Do you self-medicatе? It often happens that we try self-medication. Toothache can be unbearable, so you may decide to take a double dose of painkillers. Some pills can cause side effects if not taken at the recommended dose. Although it is usually not recommended to self-medicate, strictly follow the instructions for taking the medication of your choice.
10. Are you taking any medications? If you have been prescribed any therapy for a certain period, read the package leaflet to be informed of any side effects.
11. How do symptoms affect your sleep schedule? The time you go to bed and wake up, hours slept, hours not slept and dream behaviors can be affected by a symptom. Daytime fatigue can also be a side effect of a bad sleeping schedule.
12. Have you experienced any stress lately? Stress usually magnifies symptoms and triggers new ones. So be careful when you are sick. Do not put any additional stress into your life. Be aware that positive events such as birthdays, vacations, or graduation celebrations can also cause stress. It is usually positive stress but try to not overwhelm yourself in any way.
13. Do you do any sports activities? Sport is usually connected to general healthy habits. But don’t be reckless at doing an intense workout if you are not a professional athlete. This might pose a health risk, so be careful because you may overheat your body or your pulse may exceed its norm.
14. What do you eat on regular basis or do you follow a diet? Think about if you accidentally changed your typical brunch breakfast with friends over the weekend and suddenly felt unwell? Pay attention to what you eat. Consult a nutritionist to learn if a particular diet plan is good for your health or not.
15. How to explain the symptom? Often, it is difficult to explain in detail how we feel. The same goes for symptoms, pain, and sensitivity. Try to describe in detail what you are experiencing, indicate exactly where you feel it, and mention the levels of intensity of the symptom (including when it is sharper) and how often it occurs.
16. When did the symptom first appear? The rash, for example, can appear and disappear in a matter of days. If left untreated, however, the rash is more likely to occur. Try to remember at what time of the day the symptom appeared, when you first had a rash, where you were (beach/mountain/sauna) and of course, what you ate just before that.
17. Where to track your symptoms? All the points mentioned above are a lot to track indeed. Some of your options are a medical calendar, symptom log, symptom diary, health journaling, excel database, or a medical app.
Medrec:M is the modern way to track your symptoms and treatment plans. Not only that, but you can record data about your health, store medical documents and even share all the information with your doctor. Download the app now (for Android or for iOS) and try its features to have better health.