Information about type 2 diabetes abounds on the Internet. But which sources are reliable, and who has the best tips, tools, and advice? This list includes 10 excellent sites you can trust. Don't use them to make changes to your parent's treatment plan, though, without first checking with someone on her healthcare team.
The American Diabetes Association
The nation's leading organization devoted to diabetes education, advocacy, and research, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a comprehensive website chock-full of practical, general health information about diabetes. This nonprofit's site also features message boards for adults with type 2 diabetes and for those who are recently diagnosed, as well as other boards focused on diet, exercise, and the latest diabetes news.
The site has a strong nutrition section, including recipes. You can order from ADA's extensive publications list here, and you can listen to or join live question-and-answer sessions with diabetes experts discussing how to live healthily with the disease. Information is also available in Spanish.
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)
The site, a service of the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), offers lots of easy-to-read information about the health and medical aspects of diabetes and is strong on self-care materials.
Interactive tools such as quizzes on cholesterol, diabetic eye disease, and so-called portion distortion, and links to National Institutes of Health (NIH) podcasts, streaming audio, and online slideshow tutorials on diabetes topics are also available on this site. (For the less-than-techno-savvy, there are handy nugget descriptions of these interactive options.)
National Diabetes Education Program
This is a federal government-sponsored site, a partnership between the NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's strong on quizzes aimed at improving health outcomes and on tips for caregivers. It also has some useful senior-specific information, including a downloadable brochure, The Power to Control Diabetes Is in Your Hands, containing details on how to access Medicare benefits that help pay for diabetes equipment, supplies, and education. Materials are available in Spanish and several Asian and Pacific Island languages as well.
Joslin Diabetes Center
One of the world's leading institutions in diabetes care, research, and education, the Harvard Medical School-affiliated Joslin Diabetes Center hosts a site that includes loads of useful information in its Beginner's Guide, Library, and Diabetes Words and Phrases sections. Check out the link to the article "Growing Older and Staying Healthy With Diabetes," as well as the free link to the CalorieKing dowloadable toolbar, the leading calorie-counting guide.
You can also order the well-respected Joslin Guide to Diabetes via the site and participate in discussion boards moderated by diabetes professionals, where you can learn more about the disease, find support, and discover new ways to handle challenges in online conferences such as "Beating Diabetes Burnout." In addition, you can take one of the site's four online diabetes classes (complete with sound and animation) or one of the organization's text-based courses when you join the Online Learning Center.
The Diabetes Action Network
This site, a division of the National Federation of the Blind, is geared toward people with diabetes who have lost or are losing their vision. It provides educational materials about vision-related issues and up-to-date information via its quarterly news magazine, Voice of the Diabetic. The site includes information about NFB-sponsored senior fairs, literature aimed at seniors, low-vision resource kits for seniors, and links to aids, appliances, and other vision-impaired services via its products and technology section.
This award-winning commercial site provides a slew of user-friendly nuggets of information targeted at people with diabetes and those who care for them. Find basic topics along with features such as recipes, support forums (including a senior message board), newsletters, and expert Q&As that offer practical tools, tips, and support in dealing with diabetes in daily life. dlife.com is part of a network of diabetes consumer offerings that include a TV program; a radio show; community outreach efforts; and an online store offering supplies, products, and services.
Defeat Diabetes Foundation
The Defeat Diabetes Foundation, a nonprofit, Florida-based outfit, aims to inform, educate, and provide accurate, up-to-date, and practical information on the treatment and self-management of the disease. This quirky site, established by a senior citizen, marathon participant, and insulin-dependent diabetic with neuropathy named Andrew Mandell, seeks to emphasize that people with diabetes are neither helpless nor hopeless and can lead productive lives.
To that end, the site has a strong self-care focus and solid links to the latest diabetes news via its newsletter. Worthwhile areas to browse include those devoted to complications, the elderly, and nutrition. The site also follows the adventures of Andy Mandell (aka Mr. Diabetes) on his epic 10,000-mile journey around the U.S. to raise awareness about diabetes, dubbed the Wake Up and Walk Tour.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
An invaluable resource for all things diet-related, this site is run by the nation's largest organization of food and nutrition experts. It offers food tips such as how to cook whole grains, features like how to eat a more healthful diet one step at a time, loads of recipes, and other handy food and nutrition information for the general public as well as for people with diabetes.
American Society of Consultant Pharmacists
A professional association whose goal is to provide quality care to seniors, the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists offers tips for the elderly and those who care for them on topics such as how to use medicines wisely, potentially inappropriate drugs for seniors, and how to identify a medication-related problem.The site also offers a useful, downloadable medication form and a link to geriatric specialist pharmacists around the U.S. and Canada.