Tracking Asthma Symptoms with Health Storylines
When I talk about being chronically ill, I usually start the story around 2006 when I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation but, I was diagnosed with asthma many years before that. Moving from the moldy, humid, East Coast to the dry desert has made my asthma attacks less frequent but I still suffer from daily asthma symptoms.
It's such a common diagnosis that sometimes, I struggle with remembering how serious asthma can be.
As an adult, I mostly tried to ignore my asthma. Then, during my most recent trip to Mayo Clinic - in January of last year - I had a new test which measures the inflammation within your lungs by measuring nitric oxide. My levels showed severe, uncontrolled, asthma.
Now, I take daily Flovent in addition to my allergy mediations, and I recently obtained a nebulizer for Albuterol in addition to my rescue inhaler. While I am able to track my medication use with PillPack, I’ve been using the Asthma app from Health Storylines to track my symptoms, record vitals, and write down questions for my allergist.
According to the application’s website, “Asthma Storylines from the Allergy & Asthma Network, powered by Health Storylines™, is a self-care tool for managing asthma for yourself or your loved one. It gives you an accurate, shareable record of the asthma experience between physician visits, and helps you and your care team collaborate on treatment strategies.
Take control of asthma with these powerful Health Tools that enable you to:
• TRACK symptoms, vitals, moods, and daily asthma control
• RECORD questions you have for your healthcare provider
• REMEMBER appointments and to take medications on time
• JOURNAL about asthma and other aspects of daily living
• LEARN more about yourself as you see your health story unfold
• CONNECT with your circle of support, share with them your health story, and receive messages of encouragement from them”
So far, I haven’t dived into the connect part of the app but I’ve found the other aspects of the app easy to use.
I find the most value in being able to track and journal. I learned with PillPack that I was often under-reporting the use of my rescue medication. But with Health Storylines, I also realized that I was under-reporting my symptoms. Now, I can review the charts in the app as well as my own notes before talking to my providers.
Unfortunately, the app doesn't seem to support tracking peak flow values, though and so I use a separate application, asthmamd, for that.
While I’m not using the application to share my health information with a family member or friend, I think this would be a great application for parents of asthmatic children. As difficult as it is to manage your own symptoms, it can be even more difficult to track a child’s symptoms which might vary depending on that day’s school activities or on that season’s sports activities.
The application also includes an asthma questionnaire for both adults and children and I find this to be one of the best aspects of the app. Documenting how much my asthma impacts my work, my time at home, and my sleep, has given me true insight to how much of a problem my asthma is.
Like any tracking app, the value of the data becomes more valuable the longer that you use it and I’m looking forward to gaining more insights before my next visit with Mayo Clinic in May.
So tell me, do you or does someone you know suffer from asthma? How are you currently tracking symptoms and medication use?