Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Track and React the Impact of Arthritis

I get Arthritis Today, the magazine published by the Arthritis Foundation, and I generally read it cover to cover. The July/August 2013 issue has several things I plan to share here. The first is an online tool called 'Track and React'. As the magazine says, "Track which daily activities impact your arthritis with the push of a button". When you register to begin using the tool, it asks if you have arthritis, then gives you a long list from which you choose the one type that affects you the most (tough decision for those of us with multiple issues).
In the 'Profile' section, besides basic identification, this is the place to enter all your meds, so you can keep track of taking them. There are fill-in-the-blank fitness goals, and a space for other goals.
 The 'Track' section is the the meat of the tool. There are six pages, for nutrition, fitness, sleep, meds, your day, and symptoms. On each page are several questions, with slider bars to give your responses from low to high. Each page also has a space for your own input. There are also links you can click on for more information about each topic.
The 'Results' page creates graphs, showing the relationships between what you do, and how you feel. You can choose a graph based on nutrition, fitness, meds, your day, or all of these combined. You can also choose a single day, or a span of any number of days to be calculated into a graph. The graph is fairly basic, with just a bar representing how well you are caring for yourself, and a line indicating your symptom level. Over time, you may notice trends in how the bar and line fall. The 'Track and React' tool can't tell you how a specific food or activity is affecting you, but it can indicate if things are going smoothly or if you might need to change your diet or exercise routine, or see your doctor.
I think this is a useful tool for keeping tabs on how you are doing. When I first read about it in the magazine, I thought the graphs would be really informative, and the reason I would use this tool. Now I think the real benefit of this tool is the 'Track' section. It is a quick and easy way to check in with yourself in multiple areas on a daily basis, the graphs are an added bonus.
Give 'Track and React' a try at www.arthritis.org/trackandreact.  It is also available as an app, so it can go with you anywhere. When you are done with that, explore the rest of the Arthritis Foundation website.They have so much useful information, and so many useful tools, it can keep you occupied for hours.

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