Personal Health History

I recently took a webinar that briefly covered health literacy- how well you process, understand and communicate your health needs. It got me thinking about knowing my medical history. Since we are getting ready to transfer care I thought I would update my current system to an in depth document to help me keep track of all the little details. I’ve made it available to you!

Be sure to make copies of all insurance cards (front and back) and put the copies with these documents!

 

What is a personal health history?

A medical history provides detailed information about your health. This can help identify risks for certain diseases. Many disease are inherited and having a written medical history can be crucial in determining risks, treatment and even what tests should be ordered.

It takes into consideration lifestyle, hereditary, and environmental factors as well.

Having the medical history wrote down can make things go smoother in case of an emergency. It can also help keep track of medications, diagnosis and treatments. A complete medical history can help care of elderly parents and can be a valuable record for children when they begin to make their own medical decisions.

 

What should be included?

Start current

Medical conditions

Medications, doses and schedule, include supplements and over the counter drugs

Current doctors, specialists and other health care providers

Allergies, including food, medications and environmental

Lifestyle factors including tobacco use, exercise, diet etc

Sexual preferences, include number and gender of partners and birth control choices

Insurance Information- include a copy of any insurances cards

Also consider having an Advanced Directive for Health Care and/or Living Will

Continue maintaining these records- Ask for a summary of each visit be sent to you, along with any test results (Buyer Beware! There may be a cost involved. Ask first!) Update medications when necessary and any other information that changes.

 

Past History

Past conditions and illnesses

Surgeries and hospitalizations

Immunizations

Lifestyle factors including tobacco use, exercise, diet etc

Past (Long term) medications, when, and doses if known

Consider noting previous care providers and their contact information

If you have extensive history, you may want to contact former providers for a summary of your treatment with them. (Buyer Beware! There may be a cost involved so ask first!)

 

Family History

Your parents and grandparents medical histories can offer some insight to your own health, including risk factors, hereditary conditions and some ancestry groups are at more risk for other diseases than others. In your history, include cause of death and age. Also include diagnoses (Like mother having a heart attack or paternal grandfather having Alzheimer’s).

 

A detailed history can take some time to complete. But is well worth the effort. I started keeping basic notes that I kept in my calendar when the A was diagnosed with peanut and tree nut allergies. Knowing what tests were ordered and what was discussed at previous appointments helped appointments go much smoother. I’ve updated my document and expanded it quite a lot. I’ll be working on filling it in over the next few weeks.

 

Download and print the Health History form. It is long- 9 pages.

updated 8-1-14 Added secondhand smoke and carbon monoxide detector questions Medical History Info

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Balancing Diapers

Finding a balance when it comes to wellness can be tricky. But balance is why I even considered giving up my beloved cloth diapers for a while.

You see, I was feeling overwhelmed keeping up with the laundry and the house and cooking and…. With a newborn that wants to eat constantly, and a 3 and 5 year old that need attention too, I felt like I was drowning.

When you feel like that, it’s time to step back and reevaluate. Realigning our budget was easy. Reconciling the effects of environment or my mental health was a bigger challenge. Ultimately, I decided that handling my risk of anxiety and depression needed to be addressed first. In our family, an overly stressed out mom is not a good mom. So that meant taking some things off my plate.

Yeah, I feel a little guilty every time I toss a diaper into the garbage, but I also breathe a sigh of relief at the end of the day when I don’t have another load of laundry to do. Finding balance in living well might mean giving something up that’s good. And that’s okay. Finding balance in living well means making it work for you.

I’m not giving up on cloth diapers completely, though. We’ll try it again in a few months when we’ve had a little more time to get used to being a family of 5.

 

Mount Washmore

Have you had to give up something healthy or good to live even healthier? What is something that you might need to give up in order to find a better balance?

Getting into a Groove

I finally found a system that has mostly kept me on track. Strict routines are no fun but letting every thing go loosey-goosy means my house falls apart.

A few months ago, I found some printables at Proverbial Homemaker. Admittedly, I was looking for mason jar related stuff, but she has created some fabulous non-routine schedules. And they WORK! At least they do for me. Maybe I love them because they are mason jars? But I think the would have worked just as well for me if they were birdhouses instead. (I was going to say apples, but I’ve been craving those, so I didn’t think that was a great analogy!)

Instead of planning your day hour by hour, you first start out by identifying the most important things to get done that week and fit them neatly into categories, like Homemake, Self-Care, Learning, God, Marriage etc… Then you can fit those goals into a weekly rhythm. Now, this part gets a little bit more strict, because there are time slots, but they are things like early am, mid pm, night… etc. Why does this work? I think its because I can look at my “schedule” and know that what I have on there is the most important thing I need to do in that time frame. Even if I don’t get everything I WANT to get done, I’ve gotten what I NEED to get done. The past month has been crazy busy, but these planning tools have really helped cut down on stress. Not eliminate it, but has reduced it. I finally feel like I’m getting into a groove.

So… you know why I forgot to post last week? I didn’t put it in my schedule! Oops! Sorry.

 

 

 

What is in Season When in Michigan

Ever notice how something’s just TASTE better certain times of year? It’s not your imagination, there are some fruit and veggies that are better in certain seasons than others. Not only do they taste better, but they are often cheaper because there is an abundance of it!

March is National Nutrition Month and the theme is Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right. What better way to enjoy the pure taste of something than to enjoy it in season? So, I’ve compiled a list of what is in season when, but this is for Michigan, because that’s where I live and will be most useful for me. However, a quick google search will have you finding websites in no time for your area!

Now, most lists I found is listed alphabetical. That’s great. If you are looking for what month something is harvested in. But I want to know what is in season in March! So this list is sorted by season, then by month. I hope you find this helpful!

Fruit

Rhubarb May- June Late Spring to Early Summer
Strawberries June Summer
Blackberries June-July Summer
Cherries, Tart July Summer
Blueberries July-Aug Summer
Apricots July-Aug Summer
Cantaloupe July-Aug Summer
Cherries, Sweet July-Aug Summer
Peaches July-Sept Summer to Early Autumn
Raspberries July-Sept Summer to Early Autumn
Apples Aug- Oct Late Summer to Mid Autumn
Asian Pears Aug- Oct Late Summer to Mid Autumn
Watermelon Aug-Oct Late Summer to Mid Autumn
Pears Aug-Oct Late Summer to Mid Autumn
Muskmelon Aug-Oct Late Summer to Mid Autumn
Nectarines Aug-Sept Late Summer to Early Autumn
Plums Aug-Sept Late Summer to Early Autumn
Grapes Sept-Oct Autumn

Vegetables

Asparagus April -June Spring – Early Summer
Arugula May-Sept Late Spring to Early Autumn
Chard May-Sept Late Spring to Early Autumn
Peas (sugar) June Late Spring to Early Summer
Kale June- Nov Summer to Autumn
Beets June- Oct Summer to Autumn
Turnips June-Nov Summer to Autumn
Radishes June-Oct Summer to Autumn
Spinach June-Oct Summer to Autumn
Lettuce June-Sept Summer to Autumn
Onions, Green June-Sept Summer to Autumn
Cucumbers, salad July-Sept Summer to Early Autumn
Summer Squash (yellow Squash) July-Sept Summer to Early Autumn
Zucchini July-Sept Summer to Early Autumn
Beans, green and snap July- Oct Summer to Mid Autumn
Cabbage July- Oct Summer to Mid Autumn
Carrots July- Oct Summer to Mid Autumn
Eggplant July-Oct Summer to Mid Autumn
Peppers July-Oct Summer to Mid Autumn
Celery July- Dec Summer to Winter
Corn, Sweet Aug-Sept Late Summer to Early Autumn
Cucumbers, pickling Aug-Sept Late Summer to Early Autumn
Broccoli Aug-Oct Late Summer to Mid Autumn
Cauliflower Aug-Oct Late Summer to Mid Autumn
Tomatoes Aug-Oct Late Summer to Mid Autumn
Onions Aug-Jan Summer to Winter
Potatoes, white Aug-Mar Summer to Winter
Parsnips Sept-Oct Autumn
Pumpkins Sept-Oct Autumn
Sweet Potatoes Sept-Oct Autumn
Butternut Squash Sept-Dec Autumn to Winter
Acorn Squash Sept-Dec Autumn to Winter
Rutabagas Sept-Nov Autumn to Winter
Brussels Sprouts Oct-Nov Autumn

 

I realize this isn’t the prettiest list. I’m still working on really learning WordPress. So.. if you want an easier to read, printable list you can download it!
In Season Produce for Michigan PDF

I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month

Stress Management

With the week I had last week, I thought I would share some notes on stress I wrote for my Commit to Fit: Wellness Group last spring.

What is Stress? 

Stress is the non-specific response of the body to any demand made on it.
Acute Stress- most common, short-term response to imminent stressors, (like dodging car, preparing for exam, holidays) can cause health problems if it happens a lot.

Chronic Stress- continuous, prolonged and more than the individual can control (like long-term work overload, poverty, health problems)

Stressors are the factors causing stress, and they can be pleasant or unpleasant, real or imagined.
Physical Stressors- illness, accident, lack of sleep, heat, cold, noise

Emotional Stressors- pressures, deadlines, paying bills, holidays, parenting,

Health problems with unmanaged stress can include
Short term- Irregular heart beat, upset stomach, headache, back pain, stiff neck, disrupted sleep, increase blood pressure, muscle tension

Long term- immune system weakened, increase risk for heart disease, worsen asthma and COPD, may cause IBS, arthritis and contributes to belly fat.

10 Ways to Cope with Stress 

1. Exercise- leads to lower levels of perceived stress (so even if you can’t reduce stress, it will seem like less!), helps diminish belly fat, allows use to “play out” fight or flight response. Cardio, strength and stretching (NOT YOGA!).

2. Mediation- (If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate!) not the guided imagery, mumbo jumbo stuff, but true, biblical meditation. Saying scripture, reading scripture, thinking about scripture…

From Praisemoves:

In Hebrew, “haghah” is “to meditate” = “to murmur; to mutter; to sigh” – when done in the heart, this is considered “musing, or meditation.” According to Zodhiates’ AMG Complete Word Study, “It is possible that the Scriptures were read audibly during the process of meditation.”

In Hebrew, meditation carries with it the unappealing, but descriptive picture of “a cow chewing the cud” – the idea being that we “chew” the Word, “swallow it,” and then bring it back up to chew it some more throughout our day as new truths and revelations are revealed.

3. Journal- Write out feelings, count your blessings, jot doing a great quote you heard. Writing can help put things in perspective, and blow off steam.

4. Deep Breathing-
a. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
b. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
c. Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.

Experiment with how long you inhale and exhale or even holding your breath. For instance, my favorite is called 2-1-3 Breathing. This is the ratio, not beats. I inhale for 4, hold for 2, and exhale for 6.

5. Time management- analyze what you do with your time. Set priorities. Use a planner. Learn to say no.

6. Sleep- You need 7-9 hours each night. Stick to a regular bedtime and wake time. Don’t eat or drink a lot before going to bed. Avoid frequent day time naps. Check medications for hidden stimulants and take these earlier in the day. Reduce or eliminate caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. Make your kids sleep in their own beds.

7. Find humor- laughter causes endorphins to be released and decreases stress hormones.

8. Reframing- consciously reinterpreting a situation in a positive light. Learn to be optimistic. If you are not able to change the situation, change your thinking.

9. Start a Stress Journal- It can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Write down:
a. What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure)
b. How you felt, both physically and emotionally
c. How you acted in response
d. What you did to make yourself feel better

10. If you don’t maintain a proper diet then you’re going to feel sluggish and fatigued and won’t be able to operate at peak performance. And if hunger is not the problem, food is NOT the solution!
a. Replace sugary soda pop with water or natural fruit juice (NO added sugar!)
b. Replace chocolate and junk food snacks with fruit, nuts, seeds or veggie slices.
c. Take supplements if needed.

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