Not to toot our own horn or anything, but we at Doctors Health Press couldnât help but bring to you a new study. Itâs about health information, the kind you find in our alternative-focused newsletters, books, e-bulletins, and special reports. Specifically, the study found this: reading and understanding health information might actually help you live longer.
On its head, this idea makes perfect sense. If you read more about diseases, conditions, treatments, nutrition, and prevention strategies, then you will know more. That is essentially what Chicago researchers found, that those who donât read as much about health matters donât manage their health as well. They know less about the ins and outs of chronic illness.
Plus, patients who have high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, or heart failure who donât read up are proven to have worse self-management skills.
These conclusions came after interviews with nearly 3,300 adults over the age of 65. They answered health-related questions and answered a test that measured their literacy levels in health. For the latter, they read two short health articles and four mathematical items. The results:
— 64% of people had âadequateâ health literacy — 11% had âmarginalâ health literacy — 25% had âinadequateâ health literacy
Health literacy does not mean whether or not someone can read, but whether that person can read health and medical terminology and understand numbers that reflect something in medicine. The idea is that the more one reads health information, the more one becomes familiar with terms such as âhypertension,â âantioxidant,â and âpsoriasis.â
Back to the study. Researchers looked in the National Death Index to see which people died over the last six years. They discovered that 800 had passed away. Letâs look at some corresponding numbers from above:
— 19% with adequate literacy died — 29% with marginal literacy died — 39% with inadequate literacy died
Do you see a trend there? Those with âinadequateâ knowledge of health information had a much higher risk of dying than those with adequate knowledge. The strongest link was in dying from heart disease.
The reason is that those with poor literacy canât manage their condition as well. They arenât aware of the many things you can do to reduce symptoms and improve prognosis. So keep on ingesting health information, because in a way, it is a form of preventative medicine.