The modern healthcare system today is capable of healing and treating even the
most serious of illnesses, leading to a longer lifespan for most people. However,
living longer also means an increased chance of becoming ill. Given this
concern, it’s important to be health literate, or well-informed about your own
health to make good choices for your body. There are several ways you can
expand your knowledge, be it through online resources or consultations with
healthcare professionals. The point of health literacy is to use health information,
and develop the ability to make well-informed decisions.

It’s also important to develop a growth mindset when engaging with educational
material. If you want to have a better understanding of your body, there may be a
need to change your mindset, set new expectations, and be proactive in the
learning process.

When you’re armed with greater understanding, you have more opportunities to
take control of your own health and lifestyle. Listed below are ways in which
health knowledge can empower you:


Make better health decisions


While it’s good to recognize the role your doctor plays in your recovery, it’s still
important to understand why certain treatments work for you. Many people tend
to entrust most health decisions to their healthcare providers — without
researching the decisions themselves. Yet this trend is changing with more
people looking to health educators to guide them on health-related decisions.
Their work focuses on raising awareness around health topics, as well as
assessing the specific needs of groups to create tailored educational programs
and materials for them. From students to employees, they can educate
communities about common issues like healthy eating or substance abuse.
These health campaigns can equip people with the medical knowledge they need
to better understand healthcare systems. For instance, you may have multiple
options for a treatment, but without health literacy you won’t be able to choose
the one that you’re the most comfortable with. Being able to understand medical
instructions, terminology, and other important factors is essential for patient


Expand your knowledge


When seeking knowledge on health, you have the opportunity to learn more
about issues that will be beneficial to your overall well-being. One of the most
common places to visit for inquiries is the internet. At the convenience of your
phone or computer, you can learn how to access relevant information and get
answers on general health, specific diseases, treatment options, and possible
risks at your age, to name a few. In addition, technology allows you to connect
with like-minded people who also want to empower themselves. You can discuss
similar illnesses, how other people handle their symptoms, and much more —
expanding your knowledge beyond your personal experience.


Be more confident


When taking any kind of test, the more you know, the more confident you are
with your answers. It’s the same with your health; being aware of your own body
can improve how you manage your health. Empowerment through health literacy
can give you the boost to overcome any doubts or shyness to ask professionals
about your health, as well as the care they provide. Not only will you be able to
keep up with consultations, but you’ll also be able to inquire about or even
request different options that were not immediately suggested. A study on patient
and physician interactions found that being knowledgeable on matters of health
improved the communication between doctors and their patients, while indirectly
affecting self-care and management. Beyond the hospital or clinic, you’re
motivated to take good care of yourself, like not missing any of your antibiotics,
because you’re more assured of how these medications and treatments work.

As mentioned earlier, a growth mindset is necessary if you want to establish a
positive direction in understanding health. Knowledge is power, allowing you to
become more confident across many areas. Health literacy can help you make
better medical decisions for yourself, that you can be sure of.