According to studies by renowned institutions, approximately 80 million Americans have low health literacy levels. Although not prevalent among the young, low health literacy definition levels are a significant problem among the aged. There are several causes of low health literacy levels. They include limited education, low income, chronic conditions, cultural barriers, use of medical jargon, and in some cases, plain ignorance.
Low health literacy levels tend to have a number of adverse effects on society. Low health literacy levels must be eradicated to reduce these effects. Listed below are some of the ways you can advance your health literacy levels.
Your health and well-being depend on you. It’s never wrong to ask your doctor a question if you don’t understand something. In fact, it’s advised that whenever your doctor advises you to take a given step, you ask why. By asking, you can get rid of all the doubts you may have. Asking also makes one better understand instructions given to him/her by a doctor.
Learn to Communicate with Your Doctor
Doctors, just like other human beings, work best when they have the information they need. By communicating with your doctor effectively, he/she can rapidly diagnose your ailment and prescribe you the medication you require. If you require an interpreter to speak with your doctor and you lack one, all you’ve got to do is to ask. It’s your right to ask for one. When you do, one will be availed to you.
Always Be Upfront and Truthful
As a patient, it’s always advisable that you be upfront and truthful when seeing a doctor. Doctors are trained to be attentive listeners. The minute you walk into your doctor’s office, you need not worry about the information you share with him/her as doctors are always bound to keep their patients’ information confidential. The more you’re upfront and honest with your doctor, the more you improve your health literacy levels.
Know Your Medical History
Knowing your medical history is an essential step when you want to become a better patient and a better health advocate for yourself. Not many people understand the importance of knowing their medical histories. Although your health care provider should have all of your health records available, sometimes, the records aren’t always complete. The more you know about your medical history, the better you can participate in your treatment.
Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
To build your health literacy levels, it’s always critical that you heed your professional health caregiver’s advice. A common trait among those with low health literacy levels is that they normally don’t follow the advice given to them by their doctors. It’s sad to note that not many of these people usually get healed. In most cases, they end up getting worse. By following your doctor’s advice, you save yourself the pain of ending up like one.
Be a good patient. If looking to improve your health literacy levels, kindly follow these simple steps.