Any month of the year it seems we can find a month to promote a health-related awareness campaign. March is National Nutrition Month; April is Stress Awareness Month; May is for Fibromyalgia Awareness; September is for Pain Awareness, Healthy Aging, and Women’s Health and Fitness; October for Breast Cancer Awareness and Health Literacy. All of these things have one thing in common – they are designed to promote learning about awareness about some aspect of our health. I believe we should all be armed with the facts in order to make the best decisions for ourselves, our bodies, and our lives, no matter what condition(s) we are living with.
Health Literacy promotes the importance of understandable health information. That, to me, is critical for all. When you know SOMETHING is wrong but are struggling to find a doctor who either 1) believes you or 2) is willing to take the time to really dig in and find out what’s wrong, you often turn to the internet. Medical health professionals don’t like their patients googling their symptoms, but sometimes we feel that is the only choice we have, to find someone or something in common with us.
“According to studies, more than 40 percent of Americans have difficulty obtaining, processing, and understanding basic healthcare information — which is necessary for making informed decisions.” Source: https://nationaltoday.com/health-literacy-month/Tweet
Having easy to find, read, and understand health information is critical to making informed decisions about treatment and your general well-being. What should I eat to lose weight, stay healthy, or improve my condition? Should I take that medication? What are the side effects? What are my options for treatment? These are just a few of the questions you might be asking yourself.
I have tried to make it a point over the years to research medical information related to whatever ailment I am dealing with, to educate myself as much as possible, and to look for holistic solutions first before turning to medication or surgery that Western medicine provides. We are our own best health advocates. That’s what made me focus on writing about my journey with fibromyalgia and adopting healthier choices for my life.
Here are a few of my past blogs on lessons I have learned over the years in trying to diagnose my chronic pain and ailments:
Other Resources on health literacy/advocacy
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- National Institute of Health
- Centers for Disease Control
- Wego Health (patient advocates)
There is hope for us all. Well, anyway, if you don’t die you’ll live through it, day in, day out.Tweet
~ Mary Beckett
We should all strive to be the best we can, in terms of our overall mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Even with a long-term chronic condition, there are ways to find peace and joy in our lives. Eating well. Doing things we love. Reducing our stress. Taking care of ourselves. And most importantly take responsibility for arming ourselves with information. This is self-care and self-love. Remember, it’s your health. Take charge of it.