Step 1. Observe the Problem
- When did it start? What are the symptoms?
- If you have pain, is it a dull ache or stabbing pain? Is it constant or does it go away and come back? Is it related to certain movements or activities?
- Measure your vital signs: temperature, pulse, breaths (respiration rate), and blood pressure.
- Think back:
- Have you had this problem before?
- What did you do for it?
- Have there been any recent changes in your life (such as stress, medicines, food, exercise)?
- Does anyone else at home or work have these symptoms?
- How concerned are you about the problem?
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Step 2. Learn More About It
- Check the Healthwise Knowledgebase.
- What do other books or articles say about the problem?
- Do you have a help line you can call? Do you have a primary care doctor you can contact?
- What advice or opinions have other people (lay or professional) offered to you?
Step 3. Make an Action Plan
- What do you think is wrong?
- How soon do you think you need to act?
- What have you decided to do about it? Do you need to act at all?
Step 4. Evaluate Your Progress
- Are you getting better or worse?
- Do you still have any concerns?
Current as of: August 22, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine