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COPD patients with low health literacy fare worse

Reuters, September 14, 2012

People with chronic lung disease who have trouble grasping health information more often end up in the emergency room than their savvier peers, a new study shows. Earlier research has shown low "health literacy," a common problem in the U.S., is tied to worse outcomes in diabetes and heart failure. But it hasn't been clear if that's the case for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, as well. Knowing how to use inhaled medications and recognizing when acute medical attention is needed can be challenging, especially for people who have trouble reading hospital material or getting information about their condition.