Sunday Thoughts (Health Literacy Month)
October is a time of reflection for me. It's like the lull between the back-to-school craziness and the winter holidays. So I like to use it to sit back and just reflect.
And this October, I'm reflecting on something important. Health literacy. You may have heard me say this already, but it's Health Literacy Month. It's the time of year where we focus on making health information easy to understand.
Because let's face it — sometimes, it feels like you need an M.D. just to understand what your doctor is saying.
There are 2 big parts to health literacy — personal & organizational. Personal health literacy is, well, exactly what it sounds like. It's how well we do at finding, understanding and using the information we have.
And this part is important. Because if we're not informed, how are we going to make a smart decision about our health? We can't.
Health literacy doesn't happen all at once. It's a journey. And the first step is simple: just ask. If you don't understand something, ask your doctor. I promise you — if you have a question, there are at least 20 others who have asked about it as well. You may have to swallow your pride a bit, but it's worth it.
But there's also organizational health literacy. This is what doctors and hospitals can do to help us understand health information. Things like clarifying complex medical terms. Or helping you understand what your medicine actually does.
And luckily for us, some smart doctors are already putting out helpful tools for us to use. Like MyHealthFinder. You put in your age and gender and it gives you a list of ways to stay healthy and things to ask your doctor about. It couldn't be easier.
Plus, all the action items come with simple explanations. So you won't need a medical dictionary to get what's going on.
So this October, I want to challenge you to improve your health literacy. It's one of the most important skills you can have. Take a few minutes every day for the rest of the month to simply grow your understanding. It'll pay off in the end.