HIV Health Journals
HIV Health Journals
Brett Grodeck (Author, The First Year - HIV) gives expert video advice on: How can my doctor benefit from my personal health journal? and more...
What is a 'health journal'?
A health journal is really a way to track your health over time. HIV treatment has gotten so good that it's important to start thinking about some sort of long term issues and side effects of the HIV medications. The side effects are so minimal, and take so many years to become obvious, that tracking your health in a health journal now is a great way to differentiate between what's real and what's just ageing or your imagination. It's also a way to discover the nuances of your own body. For example, if you are a person that is prone to depression, you can track the times of your life that you become more depressed or less depressed. A health journal is not just necessarily tracking your immune system and HIV. You can track your mental health, your blood pressure, your exercise, your diet, your weight, etc. It's really a way to track the realities of your health over time and to give you a better, larger picture of your health.
How long do I have to keep writing a health journal?
You should keep writing a health journal for as long as you want to track something in your health. I personally have been tracking my health for 20 years now. I can tell you what my blood results were back in 1989. I don't think everybody needs to pay attention the way that I have. I think that the more challenging health situation that you're in, the more important it is for you to track your health over time in a journal. For example, many people have HIV and hepatitis, and you may want to track the health of your liver over time. It may be the case that your HIV is in control and your immune system is healthy. However, your liver may be affected for a variety of other reasons, so you may want to be tracking that. Your health journal is not always related necessarily to HIV, but health in general. You may even consider how often you drink or use drugs or smoke cigarettes or exercise or the kind of foods that you eat. All of these aspects go into a healthy lifestyle.
How can my doctor benefit from my personal health journal?
One common situation that comes up among people with HIV is that they change doctors over time. They move to different cities, relocate, they get different insurance. Getting your medical records isn't always guaranteed, sometimes they get lost and sometimes they never existed in the first place. Having a health journal means you can track your own health and you can be able to say with certainty to a new doctor, for example, that your T-cells or your immune system was at this level at this year. You can track HIV medicines that you've maybe taken in the past or other medications that you've taken in the past. So yes, absolutely your own health journal can help your doctor who's there to help you.