6 ways that the internet changed diabetes

Today is Internaut Day – a day that recognises the birth of the internet.

In honour of how the internet has changed the world, we take a look at six amazing ways in which the internet has changed diabetes for the better.

Diabetes newsgroups

Diabetes newsgroups are the elder statesmen in this list and their use goes back to May 1993 when the misc.health.diabetes newsgroup started.

Newsgroups allowed people to share information about diabetes in the early stages of the stages of the internet.

In 1999, the alt.support.diabetes newsgroup was launched and it was on this newsgroup that a now historic post was put up.

The post known as ‘Jennifer’s Advice’ gave a simple set of steps towards achieving good diabetes control through blood glucose testing and cutting down on carbohydrate intake.

The post has since been re-posted on a number of different websites and has even been translated into a variety of different languages.

Blood Sugar 101 / What they don’t tell you about diabetes

Blood Sugar 101 is website run by Jenny Ruhl, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 1998. She was a member of the alt.support.diabetes and was inspired to share her knowledge of diabetes through her own website.

Jenny has worked tirelessly to help people understand their diabetes and her website is one of most popular and well regarded diabetes resources on the internet.

Diabetes.co.uk forum

Diabetes.co.uk was launched in 1999 and in 2008 it first hosted its Diabetes Forum.

The forum has over 200,000 members and has seen well over a million topics posted.

It’s been hugely useful for people with diabetes in the UK with many people having turned their health around thanks to being a part of the forum.

The success shown by people on the forum has been so inspiring that has prompted a number of highly-regarded doctors to recognise the effectiveness of low carb dieting.

INPUT

INPUT is an organisation dedicated towards helping people to get access to life-improving diabetes technology such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs).

Its online presence has been instrumental in giving people the information they need and a line of support.

#BloodSugarSelfie

The #BloodSugarSelfie campaign was launched in 2014 to raise awareness of World Diabetes Day. The campaign encouraged people with diabetes to share images of their blood glucose tests. Diabetes.co.uk received a record 517 blood sugar selfies within a 24-hour period.

In addition to raising thousands of pounds for charity, the campaign had an unexpected benefit after it helped save the life of a girl who posted a sugar level of 32.6 mmol/l.

Rachel tweeted: “#BloodSugarSelfie actually just saved my life as I wasn’t going to do my sugars as I felt fine. Awful result”

#WeAreNotWaiting movement

The #WeAreNotWaiting movement is another great example of people with diabetes taking their health by the horns.

The movement grew from patient frustration with having to wait for artificial pancreas technology to be approved by health regulators such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A number of technical wizards took matters into their own hands by working together to develop an algorithm that would allow separate CGMs and insulin pumps to function as fully functional artificial pancreases.

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About the author

Benedict Jephcote

I have been researching and writing about diabetes for the best part of a decade. I have a passion for helping people with diabetes and championing their rights. Outside of diabetes, I have a love of music and seventeenth and eighteenth century history.

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