Health Literacy Month:
Lifelong Wellness Starts Here
Guest Author, Brittney Moses
All of October is Health Literacy Month! Which makes it an important time of awareness over the risk of diseases that not only we are predisposed to, but also gaining awareness and understanding for the health choices that others in our lives may face.
Have you ever heard of the term health literacy?
Health Literacy Matters
Make a Difference Lifelong
According to the CDC, personal Health Literacy is “the degree to which we as individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform our health-related decisions and actions for ourselves and others.”
Health literacy is having the skills and understanding necessary to have access to basic, personal health information, as well as to focus on improved good health.
Common Examples of Health Literacy
- Being able to understand prescription drug instructions- how they should be taken, what they do, & possible side effects
- Understanding your doctors’ instructions, materials, & forms of consent
- Getting a clear explanation of test results
- Understanding the cost(s) associated with different forms of treatment
- Knowing what your health program does or doesn’t include
- Having the assistance needed to navigate a complex healthcare system
Read on for 11 Important Questions to Ask Your Doctor this Health Literacy Month
Health Literacy Month Matters
Health Literacy Month is incredibly important because, on a spectrum of health literacy, low health literacy affects a person’s ability to comprehend their own healthcare and make important decisions regarding their health which can affect the quality of a person’s health care. People with low health literacy also tend to frequently miss appointments, have less control of chronic illnesses, are hospitalized more frequently with longer hospital stays, and can have poorer health outcomes.
Having health literacy, on the other hand, tends to result in preventative and proactive approaches towards health and well-being, which can mean less hospitalizations, a greater ability to care for oneself, reduced prevalence of long-term chronic health conditions, and savings to the healthcare system in terms of resources available.
Not to mention, the more clarity we have on present health conditions through health literacy means better understandings for the options or methods of treatment, this can serve to lessen the burden of anxiety we may have around the ambiguity of health concerns for ourselves, loved ones, and larger community. Trust me, it’s better to be in the know: don’t be afraid to ask the questions you need for your own clarity and understanding.
The burden of seeking and understanding information doesn’t just fall on the individual, but also health care organizations to provide and relay appropriate health literacy resources, public service announcements, and educational campaigns, as it aids both one’s immediate community as well as the system as a whole.
11 Important Types of Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Before having a medical test (such as blood tests, pap tests, mammograms, glaucoma tests, etc.) ask your
doctor to explain why it is important, what it will show, & what it will cost.
- Can you explain these test results to me?
- How can I learn more about my condition & what do I need to do about it?
- What is a reliable source I can turn to for more information about this condition?
- How will this condition affect my daily life & future health risks?
- How exactly do I take the medication prescribed?
- What are the generic brand names of this medication?
- What are the possible side effects of this medication, & is it okay for me to stop taking it if it happens?
- Can you help me understand the material you gave me?
- Is there an alternative to the suggested treatment?
- How much will this treatment cost?
We all have the basic right to know and understand how to navigate our personal health choices in wisdom and discernment. This means receiving information about our current health and health care in plain language and having accessible resources to learn more as needed between individuals, organizations, and providers for positive health outcomes.
More importantly, by having greater awareness of the conditions we or others face, that way we can love and care for others from a place of empathy and understanding when we understand what they’re going through. We can arm ourselves with tools and resources to help our loved ones with the illnesses we may be faced with throughout life.
If we are knowledgeable and understanding of these conditions, we can have better patient advocacy and learn to champion ourselves and our loved ones as we sometimes navigate a tricky healthcare system.
This is why I, Brittney Moses, and UHSM are committed to continuously providing information like this, both tips and ideas to build healthy habits for your mind, body, and soul, as well as health sharing programs to fit your lifestyle and needs.
About the Guest Author:
UHSM Ambassador, Mental Health Author, Lifestyle Content Creator, & Faith Advocate
Ambassador of UHSM, Brittney Moses is a mental health Author, Lifestyle Content Creator, and Advocate over integrating faith, culture, and wellness into one’s life. A mom and Los Angeles native, Brittney walks in-faith, using an informed approach to mental health. She is deeply seated in compassion for those she serves, from churches to youth non-profit ministries, Brittney Moses is a NAMI-certified Support Group Facilitator and Crisis Textline Counselor. Brittney Moses encourages others through a variety of mental health crises, and helps others through practical, holistic, and an evidence-based approach. Her latest publication and book, Worthy, helps others to focus on clarity and peace every day.
You can grab your very own copy of Worthy directly on the Amazon book marketplace!