By: Body1 Staff
You use the Internet to shop, book a vacation and pay your bills – why not to manage your diabetes? Researchers from the Group Health Cooperative in Seattle have tested whether an internet-based program could help people better manage their diabetes.
Using the Web to Manage Your Care
Take advantage of testing – the web is a great place to test both your knowledge of diabetes and your risk for developing or managing the disease long-term. Tools including BMI calculators and health screeners are a good way to keep track from the comfort of your own home.
Do your homework – if you’re living with diabetes you know the internet is full of information. Take some time to learn more about diabetes and how to best manage it. You can also look for healthy recipes, exercise tips and helpful hints on using insulin or blood glucose monitors.
Talk about it – take the opportunity to talk to and learn from others with diabetes by participating in forums (message boards), blogs and social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace). The web is a great place to meet people just like you who are living successfully with diabetes.
The study published in the February 2009 issue of Diabetes Care involved patients with type 2 diabetes. Patients were given access to their medical records and the ability to e-mail their healthcare providers. They were also provided with a website featuring educational material, feedback on their blood sugar readings and an interactive diary they could use to track their diet, exercise and medications.
The study subjects were 83 type 2 diabetics who received usual care and the internet intervention or just usual care. To be eligible for the study, individuals had to exhibit poor long-term blood sugar control. All participants had GHb (glycohemoglobin) levels of 7 percent or above.
At the conclusion of the study (1 year later), patients participating in the internet-based program saw an average .7 percent drop in their GHb levels. Overall, 33 percent of participants in the internet-based program had GHb levels below 7 percent while only 11 percent in the usual care group brought their GHb levels down under 7.
Researchers were pleased with the results of the study and noted the relativiely low cost of the internet intervention as compared to other outside-the-office programs. In addition, since many people utilize the internet for numerous other daily needs it was easy to incorporate healthcare management into the mix. The researchers did however caution that many people with diabetes lack access to internet resources therefore it wasn’t a perfect solution for all patient populations.