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Low health literacy linked to poor COPD outcomes

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 21, 2013

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Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have worse disease-related outcomes if they have low health literacy, said a study in the January Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Researchers surveyed nearly 300 patients. Those classified in the lowest third on health literacy metrics had more difficulty breathing, more hospitalizations, worse health-related quality of life and felt more helpless about their condition, said the study (link).

The outcome gaps were statistically significant and remained so even after accounting for socioeconomic differences among patients. The research shows patients with low health literacy are at “particular risk” for poor outcomes, the study’s authors concluded.

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