You’re casually scrolling through an article and stumbled upon the term, “health literacy” jumping out of the screen catching your attention. That piques your interest and you are curious to know more about it. So what is health literacy and what is its importance?
Health literacy indicates an individual’s ability to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services. It means the ability to understand and make decisions wisely in the areas of wellness and health care. The way reading literacy gives you knowledge and skills to understand and use written information, the same way health literacy refers to the skills one needs to understand to take essential steps on the health front.
Health literacy extends beyond the patients themselves and is an essential skill set everyone should possess to take care of their own physical and mental health. One needs to also maintain good health overall for smooth functioning of the body. The Dharana Experiences offered at Shillim provides a multi-dimensional approach towards life for one’s better emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.
Why is good health literacy crucial?
Having good health literacy skills helps in navigating the health care system, including doctors and services, sharing personal information with healthcare providers, practicing self-care or at-home remedies, etc. Not only this but it also enables you to communicate your needs and health conditions to the doctors, decide which services and options are good for you, understand your health needs, and receive treatments accordingly.
Here are a few skills one needs for good health literacy –
- Having basic math skills in terms of measuring medicines, understanding the nutrition levels, calculating blood sugar and blood pressure levels, staying updated with the health insurance details
- One should have basic health knowledge that includes understanding the basic needs of your body, how your body works, causes of certain diseases, etc. If you don’t have basic health knowledge, it will be difficult to navigate the other person to understand the link between lifestyle factors, issues caused by a certain disease, etc.
- Being aware of the emerging threats such as climate change, pandemic, non-communicable diseases, infections, etc.
Reducing the intake of junk food, consumption of nutrient-dense foods, leafy vegetables, and fruits, quitting smoking and drinking alcohol, etc. are a few steps one can take to maintain good health. A health-literate population would be quite efficient in dealing with basic health-related issues.