A hundred years ago, if you were diagnosed with diabetes, it was basically like being handed a death sentence. Today, with the arrival of new drugs and treatments, this is no longer the case. In addition, diabetics no longer finds themselves at the mercy of their physician who may not be trained in the specific care needed to maximize life potential. This is because today, thanks to the Internet, diabetics have access to a variety of websites and social networks that have been specifically designed to answer their questions. In addition, these sites are able to provide answers to emotional upheavals that patients may experience through the support of others who have been diagnosed with this disease. As a diabetic myself, I find the fact that many of these social networking sites add credibility by going through credited diabetes professionals and consultants.
Let me take some of your time to share my personal story with you. In August, 2011, I went to see our family doctor for what I thought was a possible prostate infection. After evaluating a urine sample, I was told that my urine contained a large amount of sugar. Another test confirmed that my blood sugar was double what is currently accepted as being within normal range. Now this could have come as a shock, but it didn’t simply because several members of my mother’s family had already been diagnosed with the disease. Fortunately, my diagnosis was for type 2 diabetes, which I have been able to control with oral medication, exercise, and diet.
You should know, though, that while my doctor is cool with my researching the disease on the Internet, you may find that your doctor frowns at patients using the Internet to try and self-diagnose themselves. However, most doctors will agree that social networking sites can be beneficial. On these sites, patients can share their experiences with others as well as receive advice regarding certain aspects of this condition from those who may have already suffered through that aspect of the disease. What I have found is that when patients and caregivers are able to support and share insights among one another, the social networking sites can be especially rewarding.
One of the sites that I have found most helpful is Alliance Health Networks. This company offers a variety of social networking sites, not just for diabetics, but also for a variety of other ailments. In fact, the company offers social networking sites for those (and the families of those) who suffer from chronic back pain, attention deficit order, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, depression, migraines, and many other disorders.
In the future, with rising medical costs, one of the advantages of these social networking sites will most likely be that they address healthcare issues that would otherwise have required a visit to the doctor’s office. I know that it is impossible to look at the expense of medical care and the cost of insurance premiums without looking for alternative ways to seek help and treatment. In addition, I have sought the guidance of fellow diabetics online, and for the most part, have found the information I have received extremely useful.
However, as anyone who has used Facebook, Google+, or other social networking sites knows, the communication between acquaintances, friends, and family can become very lively. The same holds true when one communicates with others who are suffering from the same type of illness or disease. I know I have read some heated arguments about treatments, alleged cures, and medication results. When this occurs, it isn’t because one party is necessarily wrong, it is just that the treatment didn’t meet their particular needs and you need to listen to your doctor. Thankfully, in my experience, this has been a rare occurrence and — other than those few incidents — my overall experience has been positive and well worth the effort.
While I personally see the use of social networking sites for those suffering from various ailments as a positive addition to treatment, I would not even consider using them as a replacement for traditional medical care and advice. If you have taken advantage of any of these sites, please comment and let me know what your experience was like.
Source: Alliance Health Networks
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by wonder_al