Millions of consumers get health information from magazines, TV or the Internet. Some of the information is reliable and up to date; some is not. How can you tell the good from the bad?
First, consider the source. If you use the Web, look for an "about us" page. Check to see who runs the site: Is it a branch of the government, a university, a health organization, a hospital or a business? Focus on quality. Does the site have an editorial board? Is the information reviewed before it is posted? Be skeptical. Things that sound too good to be true often are. You want current, unbiased information based on research.
NIH: National Library of Medicine
You've probably seen your chart at your doctor's office. In fact, you may have charts at several doctors' offices. If you've been in the hospital, you have a chart there, too. These charts are your medical records. They may be on paper or electronic. To keep track of all this information, it's a good idea to keep your own personal health record.
What kind of information would you put in a personal health record? You could start with
What is health literacy?
Health literacy refers to how well a person can find and understand the health information and services that they need. It is also about using the information and services to make good health decisions.Which factors can affect health literacy?
Many different factors can affect a person's health literacy, including their
Many of the same people who are at risk for limited health literacy also have health disparities. Health disparities are health differences between different groups of people. Some examples are how many people of a certain group get a specific disease or have health insurance. These groups may be based on age, race, gender, or other factors.Why is health literacy important?
Health literacy is important because it can affect your ability to
One thing that you can do is to make sure that you communicate well with your health care providers. If you don't understand something a provider tells you, ask them to explain it to you so that you understand. You can ask the provider to write down their instructions and to tell you what to do if you need more information.
Your family history includes health information about you and your close relatives. Families have many factors in common, including their genes, environment, and lifestyle. Looking at these factors can help you figure out whether you have a higher risk for certain health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Having a family member with a disease raises your risk, but it does not mean that you will definitely get it. Knowing that you are at risk gives you a chance to reduce that risk by following a healthier lifestyle and getting tested as needed.
You can get started by talking to your relatives about their health. Draw a family tree and add the health information. Having copies of medical records and death certificates is also helpful.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Every day, around the clock, people who work in the health care industry provide care for millions of people, from newborns to the very ill. In fact, the health care industry is one of largest providers of jobs in the United States. Many health jobs are in hospitals. Others are in nursing homes, doctors' offices, dentists' offices, outpatient clinics and laboratories.
To work in a health occupation, you often must have special training. Some, like doctors, must have more than 4 years of college.
Bureau of Labor Statistics