If you or a loved one has received the diagnosis of diabetes from your physician, you have probably jumped online to see what you can learn about what it means to live with this condition. Wading through all the information isn’t easy. Who do you listen to? Who can you trust? If you’ve read our article about researching health online “A GUIDE TO RESEARCHING HEALTH INFORMATION ONLINE IN 2019”, you probably remember that there are six benchmarks we can look at to determine a website’s credibility. But even within that list of “good” websites, there are varying degrees of “goodness.” It’s like the difference between good chocolate made from cocoa powder and hydrogenated fats, and then there is great chocolate made from crushed cacao beans that literally melts in your mouth! And if you think we’re teasing you talking about chocolate, watch our 2 very popular social media videos about how chocolate can be helpful for diabetes! (Here and Here)
To make it easy for you to consume the most helpful information about diabetes, we’ve reviewed 24 websites providing general information about diabetes and have “cherry-picked” the 10 we think are the best at providing you the information you need using the benchmarks from our previous article: Accuracy/Authority, Coverage/Currency, and Objectivity/Purpose. We’ve also added a category, Patient-Friendly/Engaging, because we think you’re interested in interacting with content that is both easy to understand and navigate. The chart scores average our review team’s thoughts about each website, category by category. When there was a tie, it was tough but we had to make a judgment call. Let’s count ‘em down!
10) Medline Plus – This government website, just updated in January 2019, is connected with the US National Library of Medicine. There are links within the summary articles which go to other articles within the website, including links to clinical trials that are actively recruiting. There are also links to a medical encyclopedia for key terms pertaining to diabetes. While the language might make you feel like you’re reading Greek (or maybe Latin), it is heavily tied to research and uber-credible.
9) Medicine Net – This website is advertiser-supported, so a downside is that random ads appear along with the information you’re reading. We really appreciate how the authors’ and medical editors’ names are provided, along with their credentials. The article we checked out was last reviewed in 2017, and links within the article go to other articles within the website with brief references provided. You might appreciate reading the comments section where patients can share their stories.
8) Diabetes Teaching Center at University of California, San Francisco– It’s a little odd that an academic medical facility like UCSF hasn’t included a date published, author/medical reviewer names, or reference lists for its articles, but even so, we like the breadth of coverage and the fact that UCSF offers English, Spanish, and Chinese versions of its website. Information about Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes are all a part of its comprehensiveness, and self-assessment quizzes are a sweet interactive feature. Navigation is pretty simple, and even though the three-deep tabs can be a little frustrating, you’ll find lots of easy-to-read information.
7) Mayo Clinic – Though each article’s byline says “The Mayo Clinic Editors,” it does provide a link to a list of those medical editors along with the date updated (January 2019). This website provides a physical mailing address, phone, and email, and it has the HONcode certification (expired 11/2018) which certifies ethical handling of online health information. We especially like how they provide a list of questions to take to your doctor’s appointment, but we wish the website was a little more interesting to look at!
6) American Diabetes Association – We love how this website offers support via Live Chat or phone during business hours. While the articles do not provide a writer or reviewer name, they often put a face on the topic by including a short video of a person who is dealing with the condition. The scope of coverage includes Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational diabetes, and practical information about living with diabetes is presented in an easy-to-understand fashion. This website also includes resources for political advocacy, and it connects readers to the magazine Diabetes Forecast which requires a $10 annual subscription.
5) Everyday Health– This advertiser-supported website does a great job including links to outside source references (usually government websites) as well as APA reference lists at the end of the article. Though you must scroll through the entire article to find answers rather than jumping to a tab or two, everything is pretty easy to read and has been recently updated (2018). Your biggest challenge will be clicking to close all the pop-up ads that appear – get your clicker finger ready!
4) WebMD – We really like the transparency of this advertiser-supported website. The articles are reviewed by medical doctors, and the mailing address, phone, email, and leadership list is provided, along with the HONcode certification dated 1/2019. Though not all articles provide a references list, the site is fairly easy to navigate because it breaks the information down into tabs or clickable segments. You might want to skip the short videos by medical doctors that are a little drab, but the search tool to locate the cheapest price in your area for your prescriptions could be pretty useful.
3) Healthline – You can count on Healthline to provide author and reviewer names, the date published (2018), the website mailing address and phone number, and the HONcode certification (1/2019). We love how they provide the article references, and those references are mostly from US government websites or well-known hospitals. Some of the ads actually pertain to diabetes products or medications, and the website itself is visually appealing and easy-to-read.
2) Cleveland Clinic – Even though the website isn’t that showy, they provide reviewed dates (2018), reference lists, and general diabetes information in pretty easy-to-understand terms. There’s a short animated video to explain diabetes basics, and tabs at the top of the article allow the reader to skip through to find info or answers quickly. Though ads are permitted, the website points out that advertisers are not endorsed and that “Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission.” Love that transparency!
1) Centers for Disease Prevention and Control– The best website we found is the CDC. They address the problem of diabetes as it affects various ethnic groups, like Native Americans, which we didn’t really see on other sites. We are fans of the short videos with former Good Morning America host Joan Lunden interviewing CDC doctors. We also like that both English and Spanish versions of the articles are offered and that tabs allow for quick navigation. The site has nice visual appeal, and most articles are easy to read. Since it is a federal agency, it has credibility despite no references specifically listed.
Diabetespedia.com is pleased to join these outstanding websites in providing patients the best health information online with accuracy and transparency. On our website, you’ll find expert videos where doctors explain diabetes and its tests and treatments in language you’ll understand. Diabetespedia is doctor-led but built for you and your lifestyle, empowering patients everywhere to take control of their health.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017). About diabetes. CDC. Retrieved from
- Dansinger, M. (2017). Diabetes basics. WebMD. Retrieved from
- Diabetes (2019). Medline Plus. Retrieved from
- Diabetes Education Online. Diabetes Teaching Center at the University of California, San Francisco. Retrieved from https://dtc.ucsf.edu/
- Diabetes mellitus: An overview (2018). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from
- Diagnosing diabetes and learning about prediabetes (2014). American Diabetes Association. Retrieved from
- Everyday Health Staff & Kennedy, K. (2018). What is type 2 diabetes? The ultimate guide to preventing, managing, treating, and thriving with the disease. Everyday Health. Retrieved from
- Mayo Clinic Staff (2018). Diabetes. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from
- Metzger, M. J., & Flanagin, A. J. (2013). Credibility and trust of information in online environments: The use of cognitive heuristics. Journal of Pragmatics, 59, 210-220. Retrieved from
- Operational definition of the HONcode principles (2010). HONcode. Retrieved from
- Stoppler, M.C. & Shiel, W.C. (2018). Diabetes symptoms, (type 1 and type 2) (2017). Medicine Net. Retrieved from
- Watson, S. & Basina, M. (2018). Everything you need to know about diabetes. Healthline. Retrieved from
Nan Kuhlman is an author, freelance writer, and part-time university professor based in Los Angeles, CA. She currently works full-time as a technical writer in Los Angeles and part-time as an online adjunct writing instructor. She has written for scholarly publications like the University of California, Davis Writing on the Edge and Chapman University’s Anastamos Interdisciplinary Journal, among others.