It is useful to track your meals, exercise, physical status (include symptoms that have disappeared), mental status, test results, and medications. I always advise my patients to take as many body measurements as they can on the first day of the program, and then to take the measurements again on the last day. These measurements are necessary for health reasons, but even perfectly healthy people like to do it so they can track their progress. I recommend the following:
- Weighing yourself
- Having your blood pressure taken (or, if you wish to buy an inexpensive blood pressure cuff, doing it yourself)
- Getting blood tests to determine your levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, BUN, uric acid, and everything else your doctor may deem important
The most significant findings from your blood tests will be:
- Cholesterol level: If your level is above 180 mg/dl, you should consider this a warning sign of potential circulatory problems. Ideal is below 150 mg/dl. Sometimes the findings are broken down into HDL ["good"] and LDL ["bad"] cholesterol levels, but I feel the total cholesterol is the most significant.
- Triglyceride level: This measures the amount of fats floating along in your blood. Probably it will be between 50 and 200 mg/dl. Higher levels sludge the blood, cause resistance to insulin activity, and are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
- Glucose (blood sugar) level: Normal level is between 70 and 120 mg/dl. Higher levels indicate diabetes.
- BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen): This level reflects the amount of protein you eat and the function of your kidneys. Normal is less than 15 mg/dl.
- Uric acid level: Normal is less than 7 mg/dl. A higher figure indicates a risk of developing gout and/or kidney stones.