Know­ing how to keep healthy

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News -

HEALTH lit­er­acy is the de­gree to which in­di­vid­u­als have the ca­pac­ity to ob­tain, process, and un­der­stand ba­sic health in­for­ma­tion and ser­vices needed to make ap­pro­pri­ate health de­ci­sions.

Health lit­er­acy af­fects peo­ple’s abil­ity to:

nav­i­gate the health­care sys­tem, in­clud­ing fill­ing out com­plex forms and lo­cat­ing providers and ser­vices;

share per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, such as health his­tory, with providers; and

en­gage in self-care and chronic-dis­ease man­age­ment.

In ad­di­tion to ba­sic lit­er­acy skills, health lit­er­acy re­quires knowl­edge of health topics.

Peo­ple with lim­ited health lit­er­acy of­ten lack knowl­edge or have mis­in­for­ma­tion about the body as well as the na­ture and causes of dis­ease.

With­out this knowl­edge, they may not un­der­stand the re­la­tion­ship be­tween life­style fac­tors such as diet and ex­er­cise and var­i­ous health out­comes.

Low lit­er­acy is linked to poor health out­comes such as higher rates of hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion and less fre­quent use of pre­ven­tive ser­vices.

Even though com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies, like the in­ter­net, con­tinue to change and in­crease our ac­cess to health in­for­ma­tion, doc­tors, nurses, and phar­ma­cists con­tinue to be the num­ber one source of trusted health in­for­ma­tion.

A good re­la­tion­ship be­tween a pa­tient and doc­tor can have a tremen­dous pos­i­tive im­pact on your health.

Your ques­tions help your doc­tor and health care team learn more about you.

Your doc­tor’s an­swers can help you make bet­ter de­ci­sions, re­ceive bet­ter care, avoid med­i­cal mis­takes, and feel bet­ter about your health care.

Your ques­tions can also lead to bet­ter re­sults for your health. Time is lim­ited with doc­tor vis­its. Pre­pare for your ap­point­ment by think­ing what ques­tions you would like to ask and write them down.

You can ask the doc­tor to write down the an­swers.

You could also con­sider tak­ing a friend or carer with you to your ap­point­ment, some­times an­other set of ears can help!

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