Diabetes Education - One in five Google Search Results Lack Reliable Information (or, Don’t Confuse Your Google Search with My Nursing Degree.)

The number of people living with diabetes continues to increase worldwide, with the latest International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates indicating that one in nine adults will be affected by 2030. This makes it essential to have reliable, accessible and accurate data which can be a matter of life or death for some people with diabetes.
 
Who doesn’t turn to “Dr. Google” when trying to research a health concern? Yet, a shocking one in five Google searches for terms related to diabetes reveals inaccurate information about the condition and how to manage its complications, reports International Diabetes Federation (IDF). The upshot is that there is a dearth of reliable diabetes education available for those who may need it the most.

Undetected and inadequately treated diabetes, especially when treated with home nostrums that are gleaned from erroneous articles on diabetes, diabetics are at higher risk of serious and life-threatening complications.

Six links directed users to unverified information for different diabetes terms out of 30 search results (the first results page for each search term).

Terms including diabetes, how to manage diabetes and its symptoms featured results and answers to questions from non-medical sources including Wikipedia, Amazon and Facty.  Facty is a website that describes itself as “…your go-to source for all-things-health, from the latest medical research to lifestyle tips you can trust” but showed an article on home remedies for diabetes.

When searching for the term diabetes in one instance, users were shown an ad from an organization whose mission is to dissuade diabetics from using insulin. This can be extremely dangerous for those with type 1 diabetes, if not potentially fatal. Researchers of this data strongly advise that decisions to reduce insulin treatment should be made after consultation with a qualified healthcare professional.

According to IDF, an estimated 44.7% of adults living with diabetes (240 million people) across the world are undiagnosed and untreated with the overwhelming majority having type 2 adult-onset diabetes. Professor Andrew Boulton, IDF President, says, “Many people now turn to Google and the internet for advice, so its worrying that misinformation about diabetes is still rife online”.

With the incidence of diabetes steadily climbing, making sure that healthcare professionals are prepared to provide the best possible care and that diabetics are making informed decisions about their self-care is imperative.

IDF is committed to providing learning opportunities for all people affected by diabetes, so their new online platform has been launched, providing free interactive courses to help diabetics and their caregivers to learn about and manage their condition. The first course available gives an introduction to diabetes…what it is, how it works, and the common warning signs and risk factors.

For healthcare professionals, the IDF School of Diabetes offers a free and premium online course that can assist them in keeping up-to-date with many aspects of diabetes education, management, and treatment.

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