Quantifying my cranky lungs
August 25, 2017 7:47 AM   Subscribe

I've had what I refer to as 'cranky lungs' (asthma, but also the 'every cold goes to my chest and moves in for several months' and some residual lung scarring from a pre-teen bout of bacterial pneumonia.) It's annoying, but I'm used to it. I want to track symptoms better. What to use for tracking turns out to be a challenge.

Discussion with my doctor this week lead to us trying to figure out if it was worth looking at medication to improve some of it. We settled on my doing some tracking until my next appointment so that we have good data to measure what we try against something other than general impressions.

I know (and have found) apps for the asthma side (that will chart peakflow, etc.) but I'm looking for an app that will help me track things like a series of coughing or needing to cough hard to clear things out, and the asthma apps are mostly pretty general about that. (i.e. they let you select 'coughing' or 'wheezing' but I have multiple kinds of coughing issues I'd like to track independently.) A lot of my symptoms are noticeable in the moment, but easy to forget a few hours later, or are bad at particular points, but then fine all afternoon, etc.

What I want:
- iOS (if I can't find an app, I'll do spreadsheet, but I know I'll miss data if I do that.)
- Will let me set my own things to track
- Will timestamp when they happen (so I can see "twice yesterday, four times yesterday morning, but not in the afternoon" etc.)
- Let me get data out somehow. (Ideally csv spreadsheet or equivalent)

- Also let me back-enter data (adjust date and time)
- Being able to identify a small number (maybe 5?) of specific factors would be really handy. (i.e. humidity, smoke exposure, etc.)
- Have offline ability (I'm often in a space with not-great wifi or phone signal right now) that will sync when I get connection again.

I think I could probably do enough of this with incremental counter trackers, but there's a dizzying number of them, so recs for those would be great if you don't have something that fits all of my ideals.

I use Symple for some other symptom tracking, but it's not granular enough on time/count for this.
posted by modernhypatia to Health & Fitness (2 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If you want something completely flexible, you can use Evernote or an alternative to log with "dumb" text (though some might have decent spreadsheet options), or a proper spreadsheet app, like Google Sheets, which allows you to create formulas if you want a quick way of calculating the number of times you experienced symptoms.

The Evernote options allow syncing between multiple devices (the free version of Evernote is currently limited to 2 devices), and Google Sheets saves to your Google Drive.

A spreadsheet could allow you to fully customize how you keep notes, so you could track the time and duration of coughing and wheezing, with however much detail you want to use. I imagine a table with the event types as columns, then each row being a new time-stamped event. Unfortunately, the time-stamping would be you manually entering in the times and dates, but you can customize everything this way.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:32 AM on August 25, 2017

Response by poster: The data will eventually go into a spreadsheet (Google Sheets is my thing of choice there.)

The problem is that I want to be able to track when I have a coughing issues in the car, or walking outside, or waking up in the middle of the night or when in the stacks where I work where there's lousy signal (so a 'must connect to Internet to function' is not ideal.)

I want to enter something on my phone (ideally with only a couple of touches, like 'open app, press something to increment the count on that thing, maybe add a factor or two, get on with life'.)

The AsthmaMD does a chunk of this, but isn't nuanced enough on the actual symptoms for me, and you can't edit them. I'd thought about trying a Google Form with a bookmark, but that's still more steps and a little tricky to read/manipulate at phone size for my preferences.
posted by modernhypatia at 1:21 PM on August 25, 2017

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