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How’s your Health Literacy?

Women are very often the back bone of our families and our communities when it comes to health and wellbeing. Every day we ensure that our husbands, wives, partners, children, and sometimes even our parents take care of their physical, mental, and oral health – making appointments and taking family to medical appointments, making sure everyone is covered by some kind of health insurance, and pushing and sometimes shoving folks to do what’s best for them. But we are only as good as our knowledge about health, health care, and our ability to navigate the very complex and layered health care systems. What we know we share. The more we know the more we can share to support our families, friends, and our communities. It all rests on your level of personal health literacy.

Over the last year or so we’ve all had to learn the meaning of new terms like, Coronavirus, monoclonal antibodies, emergency use authorization, and learn short hand abbreviations for research and medical terms like SARS-CoV-2, mAb, EUA, and mRNA, but the totality of your personal health literacy encompasses much more than just understanding the meaning of terms related the latest pandemic.

So just what is health literacy and how do you measure it?

Very formally, health literacy is how well people can find, understand, and use information to make appropriate health decisions, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Often we will need to know the difference between diastolic and systolic blood pressure? What is A1c and what is a good A1c number? How do you read and interpret a food label to know if consumption will have an impact on a chronic condition? Let’s provide a little more meaning to why your personal health literacy is so important.