How can we self-monitor our health?

17 Nov 2022
Stefano Mirabello
Stefano Mirabello
Medical Writer
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Generally, we think of going to the doctor as the best way to monitor our health. But there are actually a lot of things we can do on our own to keep tabs on our health! Self-monitoring is a key aspect of patients’ self-management, especially in diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, COPD and other chronic health conditions. Here are four simple ways to self-monitor your own health.

Check your blood pressure regularly

There are a few different ways that you can self-monitor your health. One way is to keep track of your vital signs. This includes things like your blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. You can take these yourself at home with self-monitoring devices. Keeping track of these numbers over time can help you spot any trends or changes that might be cause for concern.

You can purchase a blood pressure monitor online or at your local pharmacy. Checking your blood pressure at home is quick, easy, and painless. It allows you to track your blood pressure over time and spot trends that may be indicative of a problem. Simply follow the instructions in the manual, and be sure to check your blood pressure at the same time each day. If you notice your blood pressure is elevated (hypertension), make an appointment with your doctor to discuss treatment options. Self-monitoring your blood pressure is an important way to keep track of your health and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.

The NHS as a general guide states:

  • High blood pressure is considered to be from 140/90mmHg (or an average of 135/85mmHg at home) – or 150/90mmHg (or an average of 145/85mmHg at home) if you’re over the age of 80
  • Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg, while the target for over-80s is below 150/90mmHg (or 145/85mmHg at home)

Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.

Self-monitoring also involves keeping an eye on your lifestyle habits. This includes things like how much exercise you’re getting, what you’re eating, your body weight and whether or not you’re managing stress well. These all play a big role in our overall health, so it’s important to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves in all these areas.

Check your weight and body mass index (BMI)

Your weight can fluctuate for a variety of reasons (hormones, stress, etc.), but it’s important to keep track of any major changes. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and well-being. One way to monitor weight is through body mass index (BMI). BMI is a calculation that takes into account height and weight. For adults, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy, 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and 30 or above is considered obese.

Calculating BMI can be a helpful way to track whether weight is within a healthy range. However, it’s important to keep in mind that BMI doesn’t take into account muscle mass, bone density, or fat distribution. So, someone who has a higher muscle mass or bone density may have a higher BMI but not necessarily be overweight or obese.

In addition to monitoring BMI, self-monitoring weight can also help people maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if necessary. Research has shown that self-monitoring weight is associated with calorie control and weight loss. This may be because self-monitoring helps people become more aware of their eating habits and makes them more likely to make changes if necessary.

Self-monitoring weight and BMI can be helpful tools for maintaining a healthy weight. However, it’s also important to focus on other aspects of health, such as diet and exercise. When combined with healthy lifestyle habits, self-monitoring can help improve quality of life and reduce the risk of obesity and other chronic diseases.

Keep track of how often you exercise

Regular exercise is important for maintaining good health, but it can be difficult to stay motivated. One way to help yourself stay on track is to use a wearable activity tracker. These devices can provide day-to-day feedback on your activity level, helping you to see how much (or how little) you are moving. This information can be especially useful if you have specific health goals or conditions that require regular physical activity.

In addition, activity trackers can be used to monitor the effectiveness of interventions, such as exercise programs or physical therapy. By seeing your progress over time, you can better understand what works for you and what doesn’t. Ultimately, wearing an activity tracker can help you to make more informed decisions about your health.

The NHS recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (like brisk walking) every week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (like jogging or running) every week and two strength-training sessions per week. You can use free smartphone apps like Fitbit or MyFitnessPal to track your workouts and ensure you’re meeting the NHS’s recommendations. If you’re not getting enough exercise, talk to your doctor about how you can incorporate more physical activity into your life.

It is important for people with diabetes to monitor their exercise and activity levels. Staying active can help to lower blood glucose levels and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. However, people with diabetes need to be careful not to over-exert themselves, as this can lead to low blood sugar levels. Self-monitoring can help people with diabetes to strike the right balance between too much and too little activity. By tracking their exercise and activity levels, they can ensure that they are staying active without putting themselves at risk. Self-monitoring can also help people with diabetes to more effectively manage their condition. By keeping track of their activity levels, they can identify patterns and make necessary adjustments to their routine. As a result, self-monitoring is an essential tool for people with diabetes who want to stay healthy and active.

Self-tracking your mental health and wellness

It’s important to monitor your mental health on a regular basis, just as you would your physical health. This means paying attention to how you’re feeling emotionally and mentally and checking in with yourself regularly to see how you’re doing. There are a few different ways you can do this. One way is to keep track of your moods and behaviour change in a journal or diary. Write down how you’re feeling each day, and over time you’ll be able to see patterns and trends in your moods. You can also keep track of any changes in your sleep or appetite, as these can be signs that something is wrong. If you notice any major changes or concerns, it’s important to talk to a doctor or healthcare professional.

Another self-monitoring tool is to take stock of your thoughts and feelings on a regular basis. Pay attention to what’s going on in your mind, and whether you’re having more negative thoughts than usual. If you find yourself dwelling on negative thoughts or feeling overwhelmed by them, it’s a good idea to talk to someone about it.

Lastly, it’s also helpful to monitor your social life and relationships. See how much time you’re spending with people and whether you’re isolating yourself from others. Pay attention to whether your relationships are supportive and positive, or if they’re causing stress. If you notice any red flags, it’s important to seek help. These are just a few ways you can monitor your mental health. It’s important to find the method that works best for you and to check in with yourself regularly. If you notice any major changes or concerns, don’t hesitate to seek help from your healthcare provider.

There are many benefits of self-monitoring your personal health. It is a great way to stay on top of your health care needs and catch any problems early on. By checking things like your blood pressure, weight, BMI, and mental health regularly, you can identify any potential issues early on and get the treatment and medical advice you need before things escalate. Plus, by tracking how often you exercise, you can ensure you’re staying active and keeping your body healthy! While it’s important to be mindful of our health, it’s also important to live a balanced life and not let our focus on health consume us.

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