How Technology Helps the Type 2 Diabetes Community

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Share on PinterestIllustration by Brittany England

T2D Healthline is a free app for people living with type 2 diabetes. The app is available on the AppStore and Google Play. Download here.

Many people turn to the internet to help find resources for managing their type 2 diabetes.

In fact, research shows that people whose doctors use internet-based interventions for type 2 diabetes have lower incidence of complications and improved quality of life.

Whether you engage with your doctor online or in person, following their advice on how to manage your condition is crucial. But connecting with others living with type 2 diabetes can provide invaluable support, too.

According to a recent research review, diabetes online communities enhance members’ quality of life through shared experience, social support, community building, feelings of empowerment, and improved diabetes self-management.

How the T2D Healthline app can help

When Mary Van Doorn was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes over 20 years ago (at age 21) it took her a long time to take her condition seriously.

“I didn’t have any symptoms. I was actually diagnosed when I went for a routine physical and my doctor insisted I do blood work since it had been a long time,” she says.

Van Doorn eventually took steps to manage her condition, and she now takes long-lasting insulin. She also watches what she eats and exercises daily.

However, from the beginning of her journey, she craved support from other women going through the same thing.

After engaging in several online support groups, where she encountered criticism and negative attitudes, Van Doorn was inspired to create her own community based on warmth, compassion, and sisterhood. That’s when she started the blog Sugar Mama Strong and a Facebook group for women only.

Now, she’s also using the free T2D Healthline app to find support.

“Lots of groups out there can be divisive,” says Van Doorn. “It’s so great to have a place specifically for people with type 2 to feel safe to share their experiences without worrying about how their experiences will be judged by others in the diabetic community or others outside the diabetic community.”

She particularly likes the app’s match feature that connects users with similar members, allowing them to message each other and even share photos.

“It’s hard to travel this road alone, and with the app connecting us, we don’t have to do that,” Van Doorn says.

Mila Clarke Buckley, who blogs about living with type 2 diabetes at Hangry Woman and is a community guide in the T2D Healthline app, can relate. When she was diagnosed at the age of 26, she felt overwhelmed and confused — so she turned to social media for help.

“Initially, I sought out some groups on Facebook, but what I found in those is that they were really about people checking in with their blood pressure numbers and it was full of detailed questions that a doctor should really answer, so it didn’t always feel like the right place to have a discussion,” says Buckley.

In her role as a T2D Healthline app guide, Buckley helps lead daily group discussions relevant to life with type 2 diabetes.

Topics include:

  • diet and nutrition
  • exercise and fitness
  • healthcare
  • medications and treatments
  • complications
  • relationships
  • travel
  • mental health
  • sexual health
  • pregnancy
  • so much more

“I get an opportunity to help people with diabetes just like I needed in the beginning. Hopefully no one else has to feel loneliness or confusion about being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes,” says Buckley.

The best parts about the app, she adds, is that users can be anonymous and use it at their convenience.

“It gives people the ability to pick up their phones and check in,” she says. “Instead of having to log into a website or go out of their way to find a community, the community is right there at your fingertip.”

Download the app here.

Cathy Cassata is a freelance writer who specializes in stories about health, mental health, and human behavior. She has a knack for writing with emotion and connecting with readers in an insightful and engaging way. Read more of her work here.

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