Recent diabetes news indicates that online communities could genuinely help people with diabetes to support each other and learn more about their condition.
Whatever the type of community, researchers believe that patients are likely to trust their peers.
In the last few years, communities have evolved to include Facebook, Twitter and more advanced forums where hundreds of thousands of people with diabetes meet daily to discuss and learn.
The Diabetes.co.uk Forum , which is the largest online diabetes community in the UK, has been online for several years.
The Diabetes Forum doesn’t have any doctrine or agenda; it is simply a neutral discussion space for people with diabetes to communicate with each other.
By observing our forum and our Facebook and Twitter pages, it is obvious that an online community has a strong role to play when it comes to sharing information and personal experiences, getting reinforcement and support, and meeting people in a similar situation.
Consulting a professional
However, although user-generated health content such as blogs, social media and forums is a big part of the future of healthcare – it is worth bearing some guidelines. Never take anything written online as necessarily true – always check with your healthcare professional. Debate can develop into full-blown online arguments and although moderation teams should help to prevent this, forums are not always harmonious.
Always use forums safely – never give out contact details or agree to meet offline. It is worth remembering that not everyone is what they seem. That said, through using forums in a safe and responsible manner a great community can be reached.
What does the community have to say?
- Fergus : The help and support on this forum is excellent between members and many have benefited from the experiences, good or bad, of other members and have become confident enough in their own diabetic management to then advise others. In this way we help self empower many members to cope and manage their own diabetes and to be able to ask their HCP’s relevant questions about their diabetes.
- Doczoc : Here’s to the biggest and best diabetes forum! I wonder how many lives have been changed for the better by being a member on here? I know mine has. It’s literally saved my life. Nice work everyone.
- Fergus : The best part? Reading that someone has got the diabetes help they need off the back of advice from this forum. Can’t ask for much more than that.
- Carolynjw : This forum has definitely saved my life in just a few months. I was just about suicidal back in November, and have turned around my diet, decreased my insulin, dropped my Hba1c by 1.6 – all in a few months. Thanks everyone on here…
- Fergus : Following on from what has been said previously I think that this Forum in particular has to be the best, most open, honest and balanced place you are ever likely to find on the net. A fabulous diabetes resource. There are all manner of opinions given on here, some factual, some anecdotal. All are worthy of inclusion and of consideration. You can ignore things, take things on board, or just ask questions to clarify what has been said.