The End of Illness: Personal Health Inventory Questionnaire

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Nails: These dead tissues can actually tell you a lot. Have they changed in appearance or color lately? Discolored nails can signal certain conditions, from a simple infection to diabetes. If your nails have a yellowish hue to them, it's time for a diabetes check. Nails can also indicate iron levels. Look for a whitish crescent C at the base of your nails, which indicates good iron levels.

Fingers: Do your joints ache after using them? If you're a woman, is your ring finger longer than your index finger? If so, you may be twice as likely to suffer from osteoarthritis. That's according to a 2008 study in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, which discovered this odd connection and hypothesized that longer ring fingers are linked to higher levels of testosterone exposure in the womb. Higher prenatal levels of testosterone lower the concentration of estrogen, which is critical to bone development. If you're a man whose index finger is longer than your ring finger, your risk of prostate cancer drops by a third.

Joints: Do they hurt? More in the morning when you get up, or after a long day? What makes the aching joints better?

Appetite: Is it the same as it used to be? Stronger? Weaker? Do you have serious cravings? If so, for what?

Breasts: If you're a woman, do you see or feel any lumps, bumps, or dimples when you perform a breast exam?

Digestion: Any feelings of discomfort to report? Do you have to use any over-the-counter medications for your digestion/stomach on a regular basis (e.g., Tums, Pepto-Bismol, Tagamet, Zantac, Prevacid, laxatives, and the like)? If you have symptoms, are they better or worse after eating a meal? Do you experience an intolerance, sensitivity, or allergy to certain foods?

Headaches: Do you experience headaches regularly? Migraines? Do you know the triggers for such headaches? Do you find yourself taking over-the-counter painkillers consistently (e.g., Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, Excedrin, aspirin, and the like)?

Allergies: Do you have any? Have your allergies changed over the years? How so?

Sleep: Do you sleep well? Do you resort to sleep aids on occasion? Do you wake up feeling rested most of the time? How consistent are your bedtimes and wake times? Does your bed partner say that you snore? (Sleep apnea, which is often characterized by snoring, is incredibly common today and is a known risk factor for a heart attack. Luckily, sleep apnea can be treated pretty successfully.)

Pain: Is there any area where you feel discomfort or pain?

Passing colds and flus: Do you get sick a lot? How many fevers have you had this past year? When you get sick, does it seem to take you longer than your friends or family members to get better? Did you get a flu shot this year?

Mood: How stable is your mood? Do you have feelings of depression?

Hormonal cycle: If you're a woman, is your cycle regular? Are you in perimenopause or menopause?

Previous diagnoses: What have you previously been diagnosed with? Is there anything that you deal with chronically?

Stress level: On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is it? Is it chronic or just once in a while? Does the stress affect your lifestyle? If your stress is work-related, do you love or hate your job? (Turns out that if you love your job despite the stress, you're much better off than if you hate your job and it causes you stress!)

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