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Keeping Track of Medical Information

22nd June 2009 by Carol Posted in Uncategorized

If you have one of a number of chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or a mood disorder, your doctor may ask you to keep track of how you are doing. This might include checking your blood sugar several times a day, taking your blood pressure with a machine at home, or tracking your mood. The more information you and your doctor have, the better off you will be.

When you keep track of this type of information, there are two aspects record.

First, it is important to keep track of the day. Some medications may take several days to work, so if you have a set of readings organized by date, then you can see if the medication might be helping your condition.

Second, keep track of the time. Blood sugar, for example, varies across the day. It will help your doctor to know when you took the readings and even how long after a meal they were. It might be a good idea to check at different times during the day. For example, if you check it three times in a day, don’t do it always at the exact same hours. Vary it (or do some extra checks) so that you can see what your sugar is doing across the whole time you are awake.

It’s also valuable to track blood pressure this way. For example, it would be a good idea to take your pressure some days before you take your medication and some days about an hour afterwards. That way if there is some kind of dangerous spike somewhere during the day, the doctor can become aware of it and provide treatment.

It is critical to track moods because when you are feeling bad it’s hard to remember when you felt good. If you can make a point to write down your general feeling, maybe on a scale of one to ten, you can start to see patterns.

There are many ways to keep track of information, from the old paper and pencil to high tech. The main thing is to choose a method that works for you and with which you can be consistent. A clipboard with paper and a pencil tied on with a string so no one will steal your writing implement can be very handy. Or you might find a spiral notebook helps. Or you could use a laptop computer.

When doctors have accurate and detailed information, they are better able to suggest treatment options that will work. One of the simplest but most effective ways to take an active part in your own medical care is to give your doctor accurate and detailed information.

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