Ask yourself regular, standard questions. Think in terms of both recording routine information in your diary and describing anything that could be a clue to finding triggers when you’re looking back through the diary later. Was I under a lot of extra stress recently? What was the weather like? Was there a recent change in any of my general or psoriasis medications? Have I recently missed any doses of my medicines? Have I changed any of my skin care products? Eaten anything unusual?
Track your general outlook. You also want to note in your diary how psoriasis is affecting your quality of life. Is your psoriasis keeping you from the social activities you once enjoyed? Is it affecting your ability to sleep or concentrate? Does it make you feel isolated or depressed? All of these factors will help your doctor come up with the best treatment plan possible.
Detail any flare. Be sure to record specifics when flare-ups happen: Where on the body psoriatic lesions occurred, what they looked like, how they felt, how long they lasted, and anything you did that may have helped or hindered their healing. Try to be as specific as possible. What was your pain level on a scale from 1 to 10, and was it a burning, shooting, or aching sensation? Was this particular flare-up different than others; and if so, how? All these are important facts for you and your doctor to know, and it can be hard to remember exact details if you don’t write them down as soon as they happen.
Include a medical roundup. As part of your diary, be sure to write down your medical history. Keep an updated log of all the medications and treatments you’ve tried, recent blood work, as well as any side effects you experienced. That way, if you ever need to switch doctors, you’ll have a complete psoriasis history to give your new physician.
It’s also a good idea to keep detailed records for your insurance company. This can be especially helpful when starting an expensive medication that may require documentation of psoriasis flares before the insurance company covers it. Model it on a telephone message pad, writing down the date, the name, and job title of the person you speak with. Keep all letters you receive and copies of those you send, create electronic files to save psoriasis-related emails, and print copies of every email communication for your paper files as well.