Ever think you don’t really know as much about your health and health care as you should? If so, you aren’t alone. A recent study showed that nearly half of western Michiganders were found to be at risk for being health illiterate and more than 75 million U.S. adults possess limited health literacy skills. This can lead to confusion and make it harder to figure out health-related decisions.
Another reason people might feel uneducated about their own health: The average patient forgets about half of the critical information shared during a doctor’s visit immediately after leaving the appointment. Being in a medical setting can be stressful, making it harder to focus and retain important health knowledge. In order to improve your own health knowledge and feel more in control, educate yourself with this quick quiz:
1. Your medication advises you to take one tablet twice daily by mouth. How should you take the medication?
A) Dissolve the tablet in water and drink the medication twice per day, at the times of your choosing.
B) Break the tablet in half and take at 10 AM, 12 PM, 4 PM and 8 PM
C) Swallow one tablet in the morning and one tablet in the evening.
D) A or C
Swallow one tablet in the morning and one tablet at night. Taking the proper dosage at appropriately spaced lengths is critical to the effectiveness of any medication.
2. If you go in for an annual checkup and your doctor says you have a 1 in 10 chance of having disease A and a 1 in 20 chance of having disease B, for which disease are you at higher risk?
Answer: Disease A
1 in 10 odds makes your percentage of having the disease 10 percent whereas 1 in 20 odds makes your percentage of having the disease only 5 percent.
3. What is a health insurance formulary?
A) The formula for calculating your health insurance deductible
B) The amount you pay for health care services in addition to payments made by your health insurance provider
C) A list of drugs covered by your health insurance provider
D) A list of health care items of services covered under your insurance plan
A formulary is a list of drugs covered by your health insurance provider. There are usually different categories of drugs with different prices, so be sure to talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist about the cost of any prescribed medications and potential lower-priced alternatives.
4. It’s recommended that you take 2 tsp. of a medical liquid digestive aid. What does tsp. stand for?
While many liquid dosages are recommended for children, adults still need to know how to measure for themselves or anyone else. An estimated 40 to 60 percent of parents in the U.S. make errors when dispensing medication to their children. Making the mistake between a teaspoon, a tablespoon or other amounts can be dangerous for anyone.
5. What is the best way to remember what a doctor told you in an appointment?
A) Use an app (like Your Health Record or the Blue Cross app) to track your health needs and note any major items or changes
B) Take notes on your phone or in a notepad as you meet with your doctor and discuss any health concerns
C) Pay attention to what the doctor is saying and be sure to ask them comprehensive questions throughout your visit
D) All of the above.
Since most people forget or disregard the information that they receive during doctor’s appointments, taking notes, making sure you feel informed and being prepared as you leave the office are all good ways to stay on top of your health.
Interested in more content on health literacy? You may also enjoy these posts:
- 5 Tips to Boost Your Health Care IQ This Health Literacy Month
- What’s Up, Doc? Why Health Literacy Matters for Patients
- Psychiatrist vs. Psychologist: What’s the Difference
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