Managing type 2 diabetes can be a lot of work. Your doctor may recommend that you make changes to your diet, exercise habits, and overall lifestyle. You’ll also likely need to take medications to control your blood sugar.
But you don’t have to do all this alone.
Getting support from your friends, family, and loved ones can help you stay on top of your condition and raise your spirits. But it’s also important to get support from other people who are living with diabetes.
Others living with type 2 diabetes understand firsthand what you’re going through.
Online support groups are a main source of support nowadays. Read on to learn more about the different types of support you can find online and how to best take advantage of these online groups.
An internet search can be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, government and nonprofit organizations, such as the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, have made the process easier by hosting their own support groups for people living with type 2 diabetes.
This is a great place to start gathering information. And from there, you can try the following methods of finding support.
You can easily begin to connect with other people living with diabetes via social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
For example, search through hashtags like #type2diabetes or #diabetes on Twitter. Searching “diabetes” on Facebook will help you find active groups for people with diabetes with a variety of special interests.
One example is Healthline’s Living with Diabetes page on Facebook.
Ask your healthcare team
Your healthcare team may have some recommendations for an online support group. Give your doctor’s office a call or, at your next appointment, ask if they can point you to any virtual groups.
Start your own
If all else fails, you can even start your own support group.
Try creating a chat group on social media to connect with locals living with diabetes. Ask friends and family for to find new people you’d like to invite.
You can even coordinate to meet up every few months — even if it’s just virtually — and talk about how things are going.
There are several apps that are free to download for both iOS and Android. They’re dedicated to providing a virtual place for people with diabetes to engage with each other.
Examples of apps for virtual support groups specific to diabetes include:
Diabetes organizations, including nonprofits and government organizations, are another resource for people with diabetes.
The ADA’s online support community is an excellent place to find support.
Other health organizations offering support services for people with type 2 diabetes include:
- Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists (ADCES)
- CDCTrusted Source
- College Diabetes Network
- Endocrine Society
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Forums are a dedicated place to ask questions, share news, post personal stories, and much more.
Discussions are often organized by categories, such as food and diet, exercise tips, diabetes news and research, mental health, and more.
Here are a few examples of diabetes forums you can join:
Staying connected with others through online support groups can provide many benefits.
Research from 2019Trusted Source suggested that diabetes online support groups:
- improve members’ quality of life through shared experience
- provide useful tips for self-management of diabetes
- offer a sense of community and empowerment to their members
Additional benefits of staying connected via online support groups include the following:
- hearing other people’s stories, knowledge, or experiences with diabetes
- sharing your own stories, knowledge, or experiences
- receiving practical input and tips to make managing diabetes easier
- feeling less isolated or alone
- making connections with other people and even strong friendships
- sharing mental health coping strategies
- getting ideas for nutritious meal prep
- learning about exercise plans or strategies for sticking to a workout plan
- receiving motivation and accountability for sticking to your goals
- getting compassion and encouragement on days you’re frustrated or feeling emotional
- being one of the first to find out about new diabetes research, technologies, and treatments
One caveat of online support groups is that you can’t guarantee that the medical advice and information you receive from others is always accurate. Always check with your doctor if you’re unsure about the advice someone else is giving you.
The benefits of online support communities are endless. If you have diabetes, an online support community may be the missing link to your physical and emotional health.
Whether it’s for diet and exercise tips or compassion and friendship, interacting with people who understand what you’re experiencing can be a powerful resource for improving your quality of life and managing your condition.