health literacy

Topics: Blood sugar, Diabetes mellitus, Insulin Pages: 4 (1371 words) Published: November 25, 2013
Health literacy is “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health care decisions” (Healthy People 2020). When dealing with one’s health, a patient should be able to read and understand any essential health related material that they are given from their primary physician. Patients with low health literacy don’t receive the best outcome of healthcare because they may struggle with obtaining and applying any health information. Low health literacy is more prevalent among ethnic minorities, older people and those with chronic conditions, specifically diabetes. The health literacy of patients with diabetes therefore describes not only their ability to read insulin storage instructions, eye and foot screening appointment slips or perhaps the glucose meter manual, but also to seek out diabetes-related information on diet and lifestyle. Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood glucose (blood sugar). With type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood. Patients must learn to monitor blood glucose with frequent finger-prick tests, noting the level and trends in the results (Sarkar et al 2010). Damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels can occur if high blood glucose levels are not controlled. Patients need to be confident when giving self-administered insulin injections, by giving themselves the proper dose and being aware of the time it needs to be done. Diabetics should monitor their caloric intake and blood glucose levels to avoid hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic states. Some tests require putting a drop of blood on a special strip that is read by a meter. An A1C test is another blood sugar test. This test shows your average blood sugar level over the...
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