How to Get Reliable Diabetes Information

Diabetes advice comes to us from many sources—television, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, books, healthcare professionals, and even friends and relatives. How can you determine if the guidance offered is reliable? These hints will help you do just that.

| Jul 1, 2005

Healthcare Professionals
Look for the “CDE”
The Certified Diabetes Educator designation is the gold standard for diabetes educators. Professionals with the “CDE” credential have achieved a level of expertise that is recognized by the American Association of Diabetes Educators. They have completed a required number of patient care hours, passed a comprehensive written exam and participate in continuing education opportunities. Different health professionals including physicians, psychologists, nurses, dietitians, podiatrists and pharmacists can earn the “CDE”. A “CDE” should provide reliable information.

The Good and the Bad
TV isn’t always the most reliable way to get information. Television reporters race to be first to broadcast breaking medical news, often before the medical community reviews the facts. From “high carb” to “no carb” to “low carb” to “good versus bad carb,” television reports frequently contradict each other.

The Internet
A Virtual Jungle
The Web has thousands of diabetes-related sites. Some are worthwhile, and others use unqualified “experts” to sell their products. Search for sites that are affiliated with well-respected health centers, universities, known experts or groups. Bulletin boards and chat rooms sometimes offer potentially dangerous information given by well-meaning participants. Be wary and always confirm what you learn with a trusted professional.

Hot off the Presses
Quality articles should reveal their information sources. Make sure they are reliable ones, such as universities, diabetes research centers and known experts. Misprints and errors do happen, so be careful; don’t always believe what you read.

Expertly Reviewed
Respected diabetes and health magazines and journals list their editorial board members at the front of each issue. These individuals review articles for content and accuracy. They should have expertise in diabetes-related fields, appropriate credentials and ideally be affiliated with a research center, university or respected organization. If their qualifications seem questionable, the facts in the magazine may be as well.

May Be Outdated
Books can be extremely helpful, especially when written by qualified health professionals or published by recognized medical organizations. Be wary of personal stories written by authors whose only qualification is that they have diabetes. These can be inspirational, but they may contain inaccurate or even dangerous recommendations. It takes a considerable amount of time to write a book, so some information, accurate when written, may be outdated by the time it reaches the bookstore shelves.

Reliable information about diabetes can be obtained from many sources. Be cautious and check what you’ve learned with your healthcare team before trying any new suggestions or making any changes to your diabetes self-care.

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