Medical Condition: Diabetes
Commonly asked questions about diabetes:
- What is it?
- Support groups
- Additional support groups
- Holidays and events
- Studies database
- Educational resources
- News and magazines
What Is Diabetes?
It is a disease in which the afflicted individual suffers from an increased level of blood glucose in their blood. This high glucose level is caused by the body’s lack of insulin or resistance to insulin. As food is consumed, the body extracts glucose (sugar) to provide energy to the cells and tissues. However, when insulin is unable to properly function, the body is unable to metabolize glucose (sugar), hindering its ability to acquire energy for its cells and leading to an increased blood sugar level.
If left untreated, the disease can lead to a bevy of side effects centered around a lack of energy and the deterioration of artery strength due to being unable to handle the high sugar density in the blood. Over 29 million Americans suffer from a form of the disease with 1.25 million additional diagnoses occurring each year. It is the seventh most frequent reason for death in the United States.
American Diabetes Association (ADA)
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a leader in the fight against the disease and provides unparalleled resources to those diagnosed with any form of it. With offices located in all 50 states, all Americans have equal access to the resources the organization provides. The organization provides credible information to those who need it while offering diagnosed diabetics the community support needed to effectively combat the disease. Outside of offering resources to the diagnosed population, the association is also a primary benefactor for prevention and cure research.
American Association of Diabetes Educators
The American Association of Diabetes Educators defines itself as “a multi-disciplinary professional membership organization dedicated to improving care through innovative education, management and support.” With over 14,000 medical professionals incorporating its network, the organization has the resources needed to provide support and education to individuals with the disease or who are borderline diabetic. If properly utilized, diagnosed diabetics can increase their ability to manage or persevere through their disease without feeling overwhelmed or helpless.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK)
The NIDDK is the fifth largest institute of the National Institutes of Health, aiming to support and conduct research on the two diseases and the association between them. Rather than offering diagnosed diabetics support in handling their disease, the NIDDK is designed to spread science-based information on the disease and various other complications to those who may desire an expansion of their knowledge base. However, the information provided by the institute is often used by diagnosed diabetics to determine what steps they may need to take after gaining an increased understanding of their condition.
National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation is the leading organization in the United States dedicated to spreading awareness, prevention and treatment information to all those who face a form of kidney disease. One of their major efforts is to offer information to diabetics as they constitute 44% of new diagnosed case of kidney failure every year. The information provided covers the relationship between the two conditions, quality of life, risk factors, and other resources including transplant information.
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
The JDRF is a global organization dedicated to funding research aimed at finding treatments or a cure for type 1. Unlike other organizations that focus on both main forms, the JDRF focuses exclusively on type 1. Since being founded, the organization has expanded to over 100 U.S. locations, six international affiliates, and $2 billion in research efforts. While the focus is on research efforts, the organization also provides support and resources to diagnosed diabetics. Additionally, it offers extensive opportunities for diabetics and those concerned with the disease to volunteer in the fight against the disease.
dLife (Diabetes Life)
dLife is an organization dedicated to offer diagnosed diabetics practical solutions to managing diabetics in a healthy manner. The organization has been active since 2004 and has since grown to encompass several award-warning media outlets including dLifeTV, the only disease-specific weekly web series. Mobile applications, consumer programs, and professional programs are also made widely available by dLife to consumers. All the resources made available by dLife work to attain their goal of empowering self-management, engaging daily life, and considering the whole consumer needs of diagnosed diabetics.
International Diabetes Federation (IDF)
The International Diabetes Federation is comprised by over 230 national associations covering 170 countries and territories worldwide. The federation was initially formed in 1950 and has since been divided into seven regions to give researchers and organizations a greater ability to tailor research to their areas needs. Endeavors undertaken by federation members aim to influence national policy, increase awareness of positive lifestyle options, and provide the necessary information for diagnosed diabetics to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
Cornerstones4Care offers all diagnosed diabetics the chance to sign up for a digital coaching program that strays away from a uniform treatment method and works to offer customized ways to best manage the disease. The support program includes a tailored action plan, online coaching sessions and videos, and the ability to track real-time progress all while being sent helpful tips and motivational messages along the way.
Diabetes Sisters was founded in 2008 after diabetic women discovered that there was a lack of readily available information for women dealing with the disease and how it may affect puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. In the years since, it has expanded to offer education and support to all diabetic women. The organization prides itself in being a hub for women of all demographics to come together to support and learn from each other as they fight against their diagnosis. While the organization offers many online resources it also is extremely active in local communities, offering “PODS” meetings for diabetic women to come together and seek support.
Joslin Diabetes Center
The Joslin Diabetes Center is a non-profit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School and one of 11 National Institute of Health Diabetes Research Centers. The center has defined its goal as discovering the cure for the disease and to offer the best prevention and treatment methods to diabetics possible. A major endeavor by the center is the promotion of their support groups. It is understood that sometimes a support group is needed for a diabetic to properly handle their diagnosis, so the Joslin Center offers a bevy of options for those seeking support groups.
Glu is an online type 1 exchange community with uses to experiences of its community members to dictate the direction of research studies. The community is part of the T1D Exchange network that provides the research community with unparalleled resources that assist in the publication of medical projects. Since being founded in 2009, the network has become a leading resource for type 1 research across the globe.
Additional Support Groups
In addition to national support groups, most local hospitals will offer a variety of classes and support group sessions for all sufferers of the disease. If a local hospital or medical center does not field support groups, a medical professional based at the location should be able to direct you to a prominent local support group.
Additionally, there are several social media specific groups that offer a ranging degree of support for their members.
Holidays & Events
With it being one of the most prevalent diseases in the world, several organizations and governments have joined forces to create major holidays and events that raise awareness of the disease.
World Diabetes Day*
First introduced in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization, World Diabetes Day has become the most prominent global awareness campaign. The campaign takes place on November 14 each year with a new related theme chosen to be featured every year. The day was chosen as it was the birthday of Frederick Banting, one of the three men who first conceived the idea leading to the discovery of insulin in 1922.
*The day also marks American Diabetes Month, which occurs each November.
Step Out & Tour de Cure
Both of these events are held by local branches of the American Diabetes Association and take place at various times throughout the year. They are major fundraising opportunities for research as walkers and bikers acquire donation commitments for miles traveled. For most communities, these events are the biggest awareness events of the year. To find one of these events near you, click here.
With a childhood diagnosis having major effects on children and their parents, major organizations sponsor camps for kids to give them a sense of freedom while educating them on ways to live a healthy life.
American Diabetes Association Camps
Camps sponsored by the ADA give diabetic children the chance to enjoy a typical camp environment in an environment that eliminates the restrictions placed on diabetic children at normal summer camps. While at a camp, children will be able to befriend other children suffering from diabetes while having their health maintained by health care professionals. A major benefit to these camps is their role in lowering diabetes-related stress in children by giving them the ability to feel as they did prior to diagnosis.
The education & camping association is a resource that allows parents of diabetic children to find summer camps in their area without undergoing an excessively stressful process. With over 20,000 North American children attending diabetic summer camps every year, they provide an exceptional social opportunity for any diabetic child. Activities children will partake in include sports, music, sailing, and drama among other options. With some programs now offering weekend and school vacation sessions, the opportunities for your child to have fun at camp are almost endless.
Other Camp Resources
With the cure still undiscovered, there are dozens of studies being conducted simultaneously in an effort to find the cure, treatments, or direct causes of the disease. However, these studies are frequently difficult to find for a casual researcher suffering from the disease. Below are some of the most useful studies databases to quicken the research process.
This database is comprise of an international network of researchers who are active in the research community. The network was first established in 2000 as a response to the U.S. Surgeon General. Major groups including three national institutes, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, and the American Diabetes Association now constitute the networks primary funding. TrialNet researchers are active in 18 clinical centers in several nations with an addition 150 medical centers from across the globe.
ClinicalTrials.gov is an online database maintained to provide all those affected by the disease with the ability to quickly and easily access information. The information covers a wide range of diabetic conditions with all results carrying the backing of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Studies are submitted directly by the researchers to the database with the information being frequently updated with newly published studies.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
The FDA is the agency tasked with approving consumables for use by the U.S public and frequently conducts or collects disease studies to confirm assumptions regarding the status of a disease. To maintain transparency and offer the public the ability to quickly expand their knowledge base of their disease, the agency has created a searchable database open to the public. This database is simple to use and can find results for all major complications of the disease.
There are several medical websites that offer the public in-depth rundowns of cause, symptoms, treatments, and other details of a diabetic diagnosis. These sites include
|WebMD||Medical News Today|
|Mayo Clinic||Medline Plus|
News & Magazines
In addition to major sources of standard information, there are also major news sources and magazines that constantly publish new information and tips on how to live a healthy life with a diagnosis.
Some of the most prominent news and magazine sources include:
|Diabetes Forecast||Diabetic Living|
|Diabetic Lifestyle||Diabetes Digest|
|Diabetic Gourmet||Diabetes Self-Management|