Health Literacy (HL) is defined as the ability to understand health information and to use that information to make good decisions about your health and medical care. And it turns out to have a strong association with how well people with arthritis function.

You may remember these questions from the last NDB questionnaire: How confident are you filling out medical forms by yourself? And, How often do you need to have someone help you when you read instructions, pamphlets or other written material from your doctor or pharmacy?

With your answers to these questions we were able to compare HL with other indicators of functionality. HL is more strongly associated with function than prednisone use, smoking history and biologic use. Our report suggests that doctors may be able to quickly identify patients who are at risk for lower treatment success and then help them by increasing HL.

The good news is that health literacy is very high among the 5,300 people in the study group.