Tracking your symptoms Part 2

If you’re not tracking your symptoms, you’re missing an easy opportunity to improve your health.

According to the Pew Research Center, sixty-nine percent of U.S. adults track a health indicator like weight, diet, exercise or symptoms of a chronic condition. If you’re not tracking your symptoms, you’re missing an easy opportunity to improve your health. All of the systems below make it possible for you to better understand how triggers, therapies and side effects affect how you feel. Because they help you perceive patterns and trends you might not otherwise see, they can point out ways to increase your overall wellbeing.

In part 1, we discussed paper-based tracking systems and the Healthminder Personal Wellness Journal.  We also offered links to discounted, downloadable health tracking pages on

But some people want to use their phones, tablets or computers for this task, so this week, we’ll examine a few apps that track symptoms.  There are so many available for smartphones, tablets and computers, I couldn’t try them all, but I downloaded a few thought to be good (based on online reviews and articles). I’ll share my thoughts on each.

If none of these specific apps are exactly right for you, look in the app store under “health.”  If you want a program to track a specific condition, add that condition’s name to the search, too.  But if none work for you, don’t despair.  In part 3, we’ll examine online, membership-based symptoms to track symptoms and health conditions (and some look pretty amazing).


Capzule PHR – Your Personal Health Record

Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Optimized for iPad.  Requires iOS 4.3 or later.

Capzule PHR is a $4.99 app that claims to make it easy to access and store health information for you and/or your family. It records and tracks appointments, medications, immunizations, allergies and insurance information. The information collected is stored on your device, and can be transferred via WiFi to other devices and backed up via email. It’s password protected.  If you get your prescriptions at Walgreens, this app allows you to have your refill orders sent right to a Walgreens pharmacy.  Other functions and abilities include the ability to create custom health templates to track a chronic health condition, set unlimited medication reminders, set appointment reminders, keep family health data organized, create summaries in PDF format and email, export and print, scan documents using your camera and make it into a PDF you can save, use iCloud for data backup or restore, visualize data in a graphical timeline, upload files from computers, add files from other apps & transfer data between iOS devices and manage physician and insurance information.

I liked the overall look of the program. I found it easy to add a new file on myself and set up conditions, medications, appointments, and other basic data, but couldn’t figure out how to create a custom health template. It did seem easy to add additional info to this program, and might be useful for someone who wanted to track their whole family’s medical data digitally.

RECOMMENDATION:  I found this program moderately useful.  To track symptoms, I’d rather use the HEALTHMINDER Personal Wellness Journal I mentioned in Part 1, or another system I could set up using the symptoms I wanted to track. 

iLog Lyme

Compatible with iPhone and iPad.

This app is great because it was made by a friend of someone who has Lyme, and all of the common symptoms are already there, which makes it easy to get started. You start a new daily log and enter symptoms by category (musculoskeletal symptoms, neurological symptoms, eyes and vision, digestive, general, etc.). Then you go to a page where everything is listed and you simply rate your symptoms. For example, when you click on musculoskeletal symptoms, you get to a page that lists joint pain or swelling, stiffness of joints, back or neck, muscle pains or cramps, creaking or cracking joints, heel pain, spinal sensitivity, and movement of symptoms to other joints.  You just tap on an item to rate your symptoms for the day.

You can view daily or weekly symptoms graphically or email your symptom history by week or month.  You can also add your medications and supplements and track and email those as well.  There’s a Facebook page for support, but the help button is useless.

RECOMMENDATION:  I found this program only minimally useful. While it’s great that all the symptoms are already listed, it didn’t seem possible to change what was listed.  Again, I’d rather use the HEALTHMINDER Personal Wellness Journal I mentioned in Part 1.  In addition, the navigation wasn’t great and the look didn’t seem top-notch.

Track + React

Compatible with iPhone and iPad, Kindle Fire and Android.

Track + React was designed by the Arthritis Foundation specifically to track arthritis symptoms, including fatigue, pain and stiffness, so if you want to track only those symptoms, this might be your best bet. It’s so well designed and also tracks nutrition, physical activity, stress levels, medication and sleep quality. Visually, it’s gorgeous, and it’s intuitively easy to use. There’s even a way to peek inside the app on the website; it’s worth a look.

RECOMMENDATION:  I found this program to be the most well designed and easy to use of all I tried. Navigation was great and the hints would be useful to many.  But you can’t add additional symptoms.

My apologies to Android users. I don’t have an Android, so could not check any symptom trackers out personally.  Here’s an article by someone who did.


Others wrote in about some additional paper-based systems they use to track their symptoms:

Additional informative articles & resources 

Patti Stilley Schmidt is a health coach, counselor and consultant. She’s a chronic illness survivor, with years of experience managing, researching and advocating to improve the lives of those with stigmatized illnesses. She’s been a peer counselor, support group leader, national advocacy organization board member, and has written dozens of articles on these topics, along with the book Mold Warriors with Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker. She is finishing up a Masters degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology degree at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.