10 Worthwhile Websites to Help You Manage Diabetes - dummies

10 Worthwhile Websites to Help You Manage Diabetes

By Sherri Shafer

Sifting through the vast amount of information about diabetes available on the Internet can be hard. The first step is finding reputable resources. These ten websites are especially relevant to managing diabetes and related health conditions.

American Diabetes Association

The mission of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The website is an amazing resource. You’ll find countless links that delve into every aspect of diabetes, from getting a grasp of the basics at diagnosis to managing food, fitness, and medications as well as keeping abreast of the latest research and diabetes events.

If you want to go deeper and can handle the medical jargon, you can find a wealth of information in the Professional section. Click the “Diabetes Pro” tab and check out the Standards of Care to read the annually updated, evidenced-based diabetes management guidelines published in the January edition of the journal Diabetes Care.

American Association of Diabetes Educators

Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) are trained experts that can help you learn to manage your diabetes. Their organization — the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) — has a website dedicated to diabetes education. From the home page, navigate to the “Patient Resources” tab because most of the rest of the site is geared toward healthcare providers.

Under the Patient Resources tab, you will find valuable information related to seven key areas (click on “AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors”): healthy eating, being active, monitoring blood glucose, taking medications, problem-solving, reducing risks, and healthy coping. Information is available in English and Spanish as printable handouts. Several audio files are provided for the visually impaired. Check out the Diabetes Goal Tracker Mobile App (also under the “Patient Resources” tab), which you can download for free. You can also search for accredited diabetes education programs in your area.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

If you want nutrition information, seek out the experts. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Their website provides sound nutritional advice with sections geared to the particular needs of kids, parents, men, women, and seniors. If you want information on the hottest nutrition topics or the nuts and bolts of eating a balanced diet, you’ll find it here. There are countless articles, recipes, and interesting videos. You can search for a registered dietitian (RD) in your area; just provide your zip code.

There is also a section geared toward nutrition professionals, but you can access it from the home page by clicking on the “eatright PRO” tab. Type “position papers” in the search box to link to nutrition information that is based in science rather than hearsay. Read about nonnutritive sweeteners; functional foods; fiber; vegetarian diets; exercise; and nutrition for pregnancy, children, older adults, and much more.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The site of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has an overwhelming amount of information and a broad range of topics. From the home page, click the “Food” tab. You will find links to navigate to information on ingredients, packaging, food labeling, food safety, and emergency preparedness. Check out the link called “Resources for You” and then click the “Consumers” link. From there you can click on “Education Resource Library” or “Food Facts for Consumers.” Resources include nutritional information on fruits, vegetables, and more. Get up-to-date on the latest hot topics including genetically modified foods and dietary supplements. The website also provides tabs linking you to information on drugs and medical devices.

American Heart Association

The website of the American Heart Association (AHA) provides relevant information for improving heart health. Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease, so an entire section is devoted to diabetes management strategies. Click on the “Conditions” tab and then “More”; then click on “Diabetes” under the heading “Cardiovascular Conditions” along the right side of the page. If you have problems with your cholesterol or you have high blood pressure (hypertension), you can click on links to those conditions too.

The “Healthy Living” tab on the home page is also worth investigating. You’ll find tips for good nutrition and a collection of recipes. Physical activity and stress management strategies are also addressed.

UCSF Diabetes Education Online

The Diabetes Teaching Center at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center has been dedicated to providing diabetes self-care education workshops since 1977. This accredited program is a true pioneer in providing education to assist clients in understanding how to self-manage their diabetes.

The award-winning Diabetes Education Online website was developed in an effort to reach and educate as many people as possible. Chinese and Spanish translations are available. Whether you are newly diagnosed and don’t know where to begin or you’ve had diabetes for many years, this site has in-depth information for everyone and is easy to navigate. Follow links to discover more about living with and managing your diabetes. Be sure to visit the Learning Library to view videos and download educational materials.

Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic has locations in Minnesota, Arizona, and Florida. Their informative website is far reaching. From the home page, click the link to “Patient Care and Health Info.” Choose from the following options: symptoms, diseases and conditions, tests and procedures, and drugs and supplements. From there, choose the letter of the alphabet that corresponds to your inquiry. Click “D” and scroll to diabetes, or “T” and scroll to Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Joslin Diabetes Center

The Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Massachusetts, is internationally recognized for their efforts and advances in diabetes treatment, education, and research. Their website provides information to help you understand and manage your diabetes.

The “Managing Diabetes” tab under “Diabetes Information” is a great place to start. Scroll through their abundant list of links to access information pertinent to you. They also have a section devoted to addressing the unique needs of children with diabetes.

Registration is free if you would like to access their Learning Center to take advantage of their online diabetes courses. Several of the classes utilize sound and animation. From the home page, click on the “Diabetes Information” tab and then the “Online Diabetes Classes” tab.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Composition Databases

The USDA’s Food Composition Databases website is the go-to site if you want to find out nutrition information details on just about any food. Search for the food after clicking “Start your search here.” Be very specific; for example, specify cooked or raw. A search for boiled potatoes generates a list of ten choices. Click on the appropriate option (such as boiled without skin and without salt). In this example, you can indicate the portion size by weight or measuring cup, or you can pick from small, medium, or large. Search results will provide the nutrient info to the umpteenth detail: carbs, fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, caffeine, and even specific types of fat: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, or saturated.

WebMD

WebMD compiles credible news, reference materials, and advice from over 100 doctors and health experts nationwide. The website provides easy-to-understand explanations on health conditions, which can be accessed in their “Health A-Z” compilation. The “Living Healthy” tab provides tips on food and fitness. Under “Popular Tools” on the “Living Healthy” page, you can also access a “Food and Fitness” planner section. Calculate your BMI and calorie needs. Log your foods and activity and track your progress. You can even monitor calories and carbs. The “Portion Size Plate Tool” on the “Living Healthy” page has pictures that help you visualize and estimate serving sizes.