Empower yourself with health literacy: Dr Garima Gupta

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Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Dr Garima Gupta, MBBS, DM, MD (Obstetrics & Gynaecology) is a highly qualified and accomplished medical professional. She specialises in Reproductive Medicine. With about four years of experience, Dr Garima Gupta currently serves as a Consultant Gynaecologist and is the Lead IVF Specialist at IVY Hospital, Mohali, and Prolife Hospital, Panchkula.

When a patient explains to you about their health problems, what are the most common mistakes they make in their communication?

The most common mistake in doctor-patient communication is the lack of effective two-way communication. Many patients, especially in rural areas, may have limited health literacy, leading to difficulties in expressing their health issues clearly. Some individuals may withhold important information. Others, even if educated, rely on the internet or anecdotal knowledge for self-diagnosis before consulting a doctor, potentially misrepresenting their symptoms. Lastly, misinterpretation or forgetting healthcare advice is another challenge. To improve communication, doctors should create a friendly environment, encourage questions, and use simple language. Patients should strive for clarity, honesty, and active participation in their healthcare decisions.

What does health literacy mean to you, and why is it important in patient care?

Health literacy is a fundamental right, encompassing one’s ability to access, understand, and apply health information. It empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their health, follow treatment plans, and engage in preventive measures like screenings and vaccinations. Low health literacy can lead to disparities in healthcare access. As a healthcare system, we should prioritize improving health literacy to positively impact patients’ lives.

If a patient is knowledgeable about the basics of their health condition, how helpful is it for the overall treatment procedure?

Health literacy empowers patients to engage in their care actively. Informed patients communicate better, adhere to treatment plans, and manage concerns confidently. They embrace lifestyle changes and advocate effectively. Asking questions, seeking second opinions, and ensuring proper care are their strengths. However, remember, being informed complements healthcare, not replaces it. Consult healthcare professionals for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

How much can medical misinformation impact treatment procedures?

Medical misinformation can delay seeking any advice or treatment, which leads to the progression of a disease worsening the outcomes. Also, people may try ineffective treatment or sometimes may unknowingly start harmful treatment at home. Medical misinformation can lead to reduced trust in doctors, which can lead to self-treatment and overuse/misuse of over-the-counter drugs. It can cause unnecessary anxiety, fear, and stress, as individuals worry about health conditions or treatments that may not be based on credible information.

What are the most common myths or misinformation you see your patients falling prey to? 

I am a IVF specialist and daily encounters the common myths, my patients are falling prey to.

  • IVF guarantees a pregnancy: IVF does not guarantee a pregnancy, but it significantly increases the chance of pregnancy among couples suffering from infertility. A lot of many factors are involved in deciding the outcome of the IVF cycle.
  • IVF is the first-line treatment for infertility: This is totally incorrect. There are other fertility treatments but it all depends upon the factor of infertility which can only be detected after thorough evaluation.
  • IVF is only for older couples: While IVF can be helpful for older couples, it is not limited to them. Younger couples can also face fertility challenges and may benefit from IVF for various reasons, such as male factor infertility or tubal issues.
  • IVF leads to multiple pregnancies: Yes, IVF does increase the chance of multiple pregnancies. However, with the current advancement and policy of single embryo transfer, the chances of multiple pregnancy has drastically decreased.
  • Natural methods can replace IVF: For individuals with severe fertility issues, natural methods alone may not be effective. IVF is a recommended option when other treatments have failed or are unlikely to succeed.
  • IVF is risky for the health of the baby: IVF pregnancies are closely monitored, and advances in the field have led to better outcomes for both mother and baby. However, it’s essential to discuss potential risks and benefits with a healthcare provider.
  • IVF is a last resort: Many couples turn to IVF after trying other treatments, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a “last resort.” IVF is a viable option for various fertility issues, and the decision to pursue it should be based on individual circumstances.

What is your most common advice to patients to stay away from health misinformation online?

With the expansion of the internet and the increasing influence of social media, there is vast information easily available to everyone. Therefore, the most basic but important advice is to always verify the source of information. The next question might be how to check for the authenticity of the information. Look for websites and authors with reputable credentials in the medical field. Government health agencies, academic institutions, and established medical organizations are often reliable sources. Never rely on a single source of information. Stay away from random unverified knowledge available on messaging platforms, personal opinions of others and social influencers. While visiting any website for health information, look for any biases and conflicts of interest. And whenever you come across any misinformation, always report it. And always seek guidance from trusted healthcare professionals when needed.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Urmimala Sengupta
Urmimala Sengupta
A mass-communication graduate, Urmi is responsible for reporting about the healthcare industry.
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