One of the top priorities on most everyone’s list is enjoying long life in good health. We can take several steps to improve our health like proper diet and exercise, regular trips to our primary care physician and keeping up to date on flu shots.
Another way to ensure we stay in good health is through understanding the health information presented to us. When we better educate ourselves on our health information, we are better equipped to make sound decisions regarding our healthcare options and our needs for our well-being.
October is Health Literacy Month, and the Institute for Healthcare Advancement has dubbed 2016’s theme, “Be a Health Literacy Hero.” Here are some ways you can be a health literacy hero.
Work with Your Healthcare Team to Better Understand Your Health
Sometimes, we are content leaving the doctor’s office with a diagnosis and prescription, and we don’t really ask any further questions or do any research on our condition.
One of the best ways to become a health literacy hero is to take responsibility for our health by asking questions and becoming educated. You can work with your primary care physicians and specialty physicians in the following ways:
Learn as much as you can from those who care for you. One of the best ways to better understand your health is to ask any questions you may have. Ask questions about any medications you may be taking. Ask about any diagnoses you might have been given. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your own health by having as much information as possible.
Find out about alternatives
Sometimes, what you’ve been prescribed is only one available option for treatment. Ask about other available options so you know what your choices are.
Do your research
Ask your healthcare professionals to provide you with articles, pamphlets and anything else they have that may better assist you in understanding your health.
Improve Your Health Literacy by Using these Tips
Poor health literacy is a widespread issue that the CDC is working to improve. By providing a plan to help organizations, businesses and individuals improve health literacy, the CDC hopes to help all parties better understand health matters and healthcare.
Here are some of the suggestions from the CDC, provided by the Department of Health to improve your health literacy as an individual:
- Improve communication with your physicians and other health professionals by writing down what they say at appointments or on the phone
- Ask health professionals to explain things in language that is easily understood
- Ask questions if you do not understand something
- Attend appointments with a loved one if they have a hard time disseminating information
- Improve the health literacy of your family by reading with your children to improve their literacy skills
- Prepare future generations for better health literacy by advocating having health education included in school curriculum
These are just a few of the many suggestions available. For the complete list, click here.
Call MAP® with Your Questions and Concerns
MAP is designed to help you find the best care for the best price. When you have questions or concerns about your healthcare, our Licensed Nurses will use their knowledge, research and our trusted team of medical professionals to help you make the best decision for your healthcare. Contact MAP® today