Sophie Bostock Though most of us read through the guidelines and doses mentioned on medicine labels carefully, there are a few who may simply disregard them. Scientists from the University College London (UCL) have disclosed that elderly individuals facing problems with understanding and reading basic information related to health could be at increased risk for mortality.

For the analysis, nearly 7,857 adults in the age-group 52 and up were incorporated. They were exposed to a health literacy test where they had to comprehend the written guidelines on an aspirin pill. The incidences of death among the subjects were recorded for about 4 years.

Those who scored low in terms of health literacy were seemingly 2 folds likelier to encounter death as compared to their high-scoring counterparts. Other variables like age, economic or social status and general health did not increase the risk of death.

“This study is a reminder that providing information doesn’t necessarily equate to understanding. The patients most vulnerable to adverse health outcomes are those least likely to understand written health information,” commented co-author Sophie Bostock, UCL Epidemiology & Public Health.

Basically, the team put forth the importance of health literacy or understanding of health-related data among the elderly. It is important to check the label for side-effects associated with medications that may refer to adverse outcomes if any. This may not only prevent death, but even keep the person in question well informed. Experts have also urged health care professionals to communicate with their patients pertaining to the treatment they are undergoing.

The study is published in the journal, BMJ.