Understanding our health, how it affects us, and what we can do about it is Health Literacy. This is not as easy as it sounds. Health and our well being has been talked about since we were able to communicate with each other.
Yet we Humans are still trying to understand what it means and how each one of us can get it. It is about the Facts. The facts we know. The facts we know are bad.
The facts we do not want to know. The facts we do not know, and the way to tell the differences between these facts.
Yes.. it just started to get complicated. This is why we have Doctors. They are here to help us navigate this confusing situation.
The facts we know should be enough to allow us to navigate the current healthcare system. We get these facts from the news, Facebook, our friends, our family, our own history, and lastly our Doctors.
I say lastly because after we have exhausted all the other resources available we will finally go to our Doctor. Ask them what is going on and then expect them to fix us. This is probably just the way most of us treat our health nowadays.
A lot of the information out there is good information, and knowing the difference is health literacy. This is why teaching health literacy is so important for the health of not just us, but America as a whole.
The problem with health literacy is the bad or disinformation that is out there on the same platforms we use to get good information.
A lot of things and reasons drive bad health information. The number one thing is culture. Where and how you were brought up defines our understanding of healthcare in the first place.
If you were raised in a culture of fear and distrust it is difficult to break through those barriers and trust. Family histories, friends, and even urban legends can have a lot to do with this. Again.. if you hurt enough you will go see a doctor. This is why teaching health literacy is so important.
This is where our learned behaviors come into play. We have seen it so many times we can’t help ourselves but to repeat the same old reactive behaviors.”My Father never goes to the Doctor.. Why should I?”. Social media and our own value system will play a role in this.
The culture around us also dictates which way we see the healthcare system. These stereotypes can be very difficult to overcome. Knowing the difference between good information and bad information is crucial to one’s healthcare.
This is where The Professionals come in. They are trained to spot the issues. Issues like the patient lying to them or the patient’s inability to comprehend what the Doctor is saying. These are huge barriers to overcome when teaching health literacy.
The Doctors advice is going to be one of the best resources for health literacy. Your doctor has all the charts and information about you and your medical history.
The Doctor can talk to you about specific issues you have. Health screenings are also a way to teach health literacy. People are more willing to take a test or get some information when they see other people taking advantage of the opportunity.
We are seeing more community direction in this area with such things as “The Healthy Expo” at your local exhibition centers. Most of these are free and people can get all kinds of information and free screenings.
Most visitors walk out with a bag full of free samples and information concerning their health. Which is a start in the right direction.