Your Health Timeline

Updated: Apr 5


The first step in determining how your health issues began and understanding their underlying causes is to create a timeline of your life. This timeline will identify health issues, important changes, stresses, medications used, and any other events that may have shaped your current health for each stage of life from pre-conception to present.

As you review your timeline later, you will start to see some common trends, triggering events and a roadmap that often uncovers the steps along the way leading to your current state of health.

Looking for patterns in my patients’ case histories has helped me to identify the cause or original catalyst of a health issue. Knowing how a condition started provides me with direction for how to treat it.

Without going to the root of the problem, treatments may only address symptoms—the more recent or superficial manifestation of an imbalance or illness—rather than presenting a lasting cure.

Sorting through the data

Once you have collected all that you can to map out your timeline, we categorize them. The Functional Medicine approach that I am now integrating into my work looks for the following three categories:

  1. Antecedents: – Things that may predispose you. For example family history, genetics, dietary insufficiency, infections, toxin exposures.

  2. Triggers: – An event, illness or exposure that you have ‘never been well since’. This could be physical or psychic trauma, microbes, toxins, memories, stressful events, infections. A trigger could also be a positive transformative moment where health improves suddenly.

  3. Mediators: – Things that perpetuate a condition, for example ongoing psychological stress, ongoing exposure to an environmental insult (ex. mold, chronic sleep deprivation or shift-work, inflammatory cytokines, and more.

Are you starting to see that your health timeline tells the story of how you reach the state of health you’re currently in? And from here, we can track backwards to the deepest of root causes to make permanent change.

YOUR TURN

If you’re curious about your own health story, begin your detective work now.

Your timeline is divided into stages, beginning with pre-conception and ending with your current age. Identify and mark on the timeline all events and health issues you have experienced. You may need to consult with family members for early childhood reminders.

The text below provides examples of the kinds of things I consider when I look at my patients’ health timelines. Use these as a guide as you complete your timeline now.

Preconception and birth

  1. mother’s health before pregnancy

  2. any complications in pregnancy (e.g. born prematurely, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, induced labor)

  3. born on time / early / late, any interventions

  4. birth complications

  5. breastfeeding initiated right away

  6. bonding with mother at birth

Infant / toddler (to age 3)

  1. breast or bottle fed, length of breast feeding, mother’s health during breast feeding

  2. colic

  3. immunizations on schedule / any reactions

  4. bonding with parents

  5. any known stresses

  6. age of first food introductions, what was first?

  7. any reactions to foods in the first year?

  8. allergies, eczema, asthma

  9. frequent ear infections? tubes in the ears

  10. adenoids or tonsils out?

  11. frequent croup?

  12. skin conditions?

  13. weight gain

  14. basic nutrition

  15. daycare / preschool – started at what age

  16. how many times antibiotics before age 4?

  17. stomach / digestive problems (stomach aches, constipation diarrhea)

  18. meeting developmental milestones?

Childhood (age 4 to puberty)

  1. sick often?

  2. lots of antibiotics?

  3. weight – average, heavy, too small?

  4. stresses / moves / changes / bullying / parents

  5. how was nutrition (e.g. healthy, mostly unprocessed foods, lots of fast food, or somewhere in between)?

  6. tonsils out?

  7. athletics and activities – ages and intensity

  8. stomach / digestive problems (stomach aches, constipation diarrhea)

  9. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  10. dental health – lots of fillings?

Puberty

  1. what age? early (11 or younger), average (12 or 13), late (14 or over)?

  2. hormonal issues (e.g. mood swings or acne?)

  3. early breast development

Teenage years

  1. mood – depression / anxiety

  2. stresses and changes

  3. difficulties with school performance

  4. heavy or painful periods

  5. irregular or very late periods?

  6. acne

  7. digestive problems (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome [IBS])?

  8. many antibiotics (includes tetracycline, minocin or doxycycline for acne)

  9. started oral contraceptives or other hormonal birth control?

  10. pregnancy? to term or not?

  11. athletics and activities

  12. nutritional status

  13. eating disorders

  14. alcohol, tobacco, drug use

Early adulthood (up to 28 years)

  1. stresses / changes

  2. medications, including oral or other hormonal contraceptives

  3. digestive issues

  4. nutrition

  5. alcohol , drug, tobacco use

  6. antibiotic use (includes urinary tract infections)

  7. immune system function

  8. travel / parasites, related immunizations

  9. headaches, migraines

  10. recurrent yeast infections

  11. illnesses / hospitalizations / surgeries

  12. birth of children – stress involved / post-partum depression / conditions during pregnancy

  13. any health conditions

  14. changes in weight

  15. exercise, athletics

  16. changes in menses

  17. skin conditions

  18. anything you have never been well since?

Mid-adulthood (29 to 39 years)

  1. as above

  2. hormonal changes, menstrual cycle changes?

  3. pregnancies, fertility treatments

  4. new stresses, losses, changes

  5. anything you have never been well since?

40s

  1. as above

  2. hormonal changes – periods heavy / light / irregular

  3. early menopause?

  4. any other chronic or acute health issues

  5. daily medications

  6. anything you have never been well since?

50s

  1. as above

  2. age of onset of menopause

  3. any new chronic health conditions

  4. weight changes

  5. stresses through menopause

  6. how long was menopause transition – difficult?

Beyond the 50s

  1. as above

  2. any new health conditions

  3. hospitalizations or surgeries?

  4. medications used

  5. anything you have never been well since?

Please hold onto this information – it will be helpful for any assessment with a healthcare practitioner in the future.

What’s Next?

If you immediately started to write out your health timeline, please do bring this to your next appointment. Or if you would like to create a digital version and go through a thorough Functional Medicine Assessment utilizing your timeline, and also the Functional Medicine Matrix, you can choose this option on my drop-down booking menu below.

Book an appointment with Dr. Darou online. Contact us: 416.214.9251, admin@drdarou.com www.darouwellness.com

Disclaimer Please note that content on this website is indented for informational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. Do not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website. Information provided on this website DOES NOT create a doctor-patient relationship between you and any healthcare practitioner affiliated with our website.

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