Ask people with normal pancreatic function what they know about diabetes, and chances are, they won’t even be able to tell you the difference between Type 1 and Type 2.
There’s a whole lot of ignorance out there – tragically, even among millions of people who do have diabetes. It’s estimated that there are 175 million people who are living with it, undiagnosed. That’s a virtual epidemic.
This is an unnecessary calamity, because there’s more information than ever out there, available to anyone with access to an Internet connection. Nothing can take the place of a caring doctor or other medical professional, and when you find a good one, someone with whom you are comfortable, and can reach easily in times of need, hold on tight.
But between office visits, it’s good to have a roster of “favorite places” that we can consult for answers to almost any question we may have about our condition.
Here are five excellent T1D resources for learning everything you can about basic diabetes management.
- In the US, the National Diabetes Education Program is a joint effort of more than 200 health organizations, plus the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. Its website offers articles, studies and worksheets you can read online or download, and even gives an option to order printed copies. The site gives broad overviews of diabetes and its care, but also offers a variety of specialized topics, such as how to manage diabetes in the event of a natural disaster. It also has podcasts, videos and webinars.
- The website of the International Diabetes Federation pools resources of its more than 200 member organizations in 160 countries. The result is a cornucopia of information that spans not only the IDF website, but Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. (Check out their “What Needs to be Changed in My Society” series of videos by young people with diabetes. Powerful stuff.)
- The website of Diabetes UK says that 300,000 voices are better than one, and that’s so true. But the site speaks not only for people living with diabetes in the United Kingdom, but all over the world. In particular, we like its “Guide to Diabetes” and its continually updated “Research Roundup.”
- Diabetes.org is the home base of the American Diabetes Association. Its “Diabetes Basics” and “Living with Diabetes” sections are a virtual encyclopedia on everything from everyday routines to possible complications and even issues such as dealing with your health-insurance company, or worse – managing diabetes when you don’t have insurance. There are also specialized online communities, such as for people who were recently diagnosed, or people who don’t have diabetes but want to help someone who does.
- Finally, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation still goes by the old name for Type 1 diabetes, but its website is always up-to-date and useful. Of particular note is the articles archives, where topics range from tips for the college-bound student with diabetes, to everything you need to know before enrolling in a clinical trial. It also offers a T1D dictionary, lists current clinical trials, and gives people a chance to tell their own T1D stories on the site.
If you’ve got other recommendations, please let us know!