Staying healthy as an adult requires more than just exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, it also includes being your own health advocate. A health advocate is a role that involves monitoring your health, noticing changes in your physical condition and seeking proper treatment and preventative care. One tool that can help you to stay in control of your health as you age is a medical journal.
What Is a Medial Journal?
A medical journal is a simple recording device that keeps track of physical and mental condition. It can be used to chart your heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, exercise schedule, diet, doctors’ appointments, treatments and medication treatments. The information that you put in your medical journal will help you to find connections between health problems that you are experiencing and their cause. This information can also be used to track how you are responding to new medications or treatments, or to determine when you first started experiencing symptoms of a new health problem.
Medical Journal Entries
To create a medical journal entry you will first want to start by noting the date and time of the entry. This will create a time stamp for your data. Next you will want to note what the entry is about. For example, you may be entering information about your blood pressure or an injury that you developed. After labeling your entry you will create your entry text. This text will explain the who, what, when, where and why (if you know) of the situation. For example:
Date: May 31, 2009
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Today at 1:00 p.m. I tripped on the carpet and fell to the floor. I have abrasions on my palms and knees and have a sharp pain in my knee when I put weight on it. I iced the area for 20 minutes, however, my knee is still swollen. I took two aspirin and called my doctor. He said to stay off my legs and to come into the office if the swelling doesn’t go down by tomorrow.
Action to Take: I need to tack down the loose carpet to prevent future falling accidents and I will need to call my doctor tomorrow if my knee still hurts.
Using Your Medical Journal
Your medical journal is not only for you to read. It should also be brought to your doctors appointments. The information that you have in your journal can be used to explain why you have gained weight, why your body is retaining extra water or why you have pain in certain joints. It can also be used to help you remember how your body responded to new medications that your doctor put you on, or to update your general physician on the treatments that other doctors have prescribed for you.