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Searching for Answers

A Guide to Researching Health Concerns on the Internet


Jul 3, 2012

Rachel Garlinghouse

What is the difference between "good carbs" and "bad carbs"?  Is that ache in your side normal or a sign of cancer?  Is blurry eyesight normal for people with diabetes, or should you start a carrot diet to improve your vision?

When you have diabetes, you are thrust into many medical mysteries. The disease is complicated and confusing. You need to have an understanding of hormones, nutrition, medicine, exercise, eyesight, foot health, and so much more.  Where on the Internet can you find accurate answers to your health-related questions?

Start with your doctor

Ask your doctors where they find the most up-to-date and reliable online information on diabetes-related concerns.  Keep in mind that your provider might suggest websites that are geared toward medical professionals. If you come across an article that you have a hard time deciphering, take a copy to your next appointment and ask your doctor to help you interpret it.

Look for credibility

First, an article is more credible when it is current, not outdated. New research is constantly revealing new health-related findings and making old ideas obsolete. Second, seek out articles that are written by an experienced and educated writer. I've seen numerous questionable articles written by people who sign only a first name and don't provide a link to their credentials.  Anyone can write anything online, so be cautious. Finally, make sure that the article cites sources. Statistics are easily manufactured, so rely on articles that spell out where their information was found.

Beware of advertisements disguised as articles

If an article attempts to sell you a solution to your problem, such as a medicine or a special pair of shoes, and you can buy that item directly from the article's website, seek your information elsewhere. Reliable articles focus on an idea, like foot pain, and offer multiple potential solutions rather than propaganda supporting a product. Before you ever purchase a diabetes-related "fix," talk to your healthcare provider to be sure that what you are planning to buy is helpful and legitimate.

Opinions are like noses; everybody has one

Even among articles written by medical professionals, there is a wide range of opinions about how to solve or better your medical situation.  Some doctors are pro-herbal medicine. Others believe firmly in the assistance of the pharmaceutical industry. One dietitian might swear by a low-carb diet, while another insists that you can eat anything in moderation. Research often and extensively, and present your findings to your doctor to gain further insight.

The ultimate responsibility for your good health falls upon you. Using online articles is just one way that you can empower yourself.  Choose whom you trust wisely and carefully, and educate yourself in confidence.  


Categories: Carbohydrate/Carbs,, Diabetes, Diabetes Health, Diet Choices, Exercise, Internet/Online



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