July 6, 2022
One in five Google searches for terms related to diabetes reveal inaccurate information about the condition and how to manage its complications, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Research carried out by IDF found that searches for terms including ‘diabetes’, ‘how to manage diabetes’ and ’diabetes symptoms’ featured results and answers to questions from non-medical sources including Wikipedia, Amazon and Facty – the last of which showed an article on home remedies for diabetes.
Out of 30 search results (the first results page for each search term), six links directed users to unverified information. In one case, for the search term ‘diabetes’, users were displayed an advert from an organisation that aims to ‘wean people living with diabetes from insulin.’ Without an uninterrupted supply of insulin, type 1 diabetes is a death sentence. Many people with type 2 diabetes also need insulin to manage their condition. Any decisions to reduce insulin treatment should be taken in close consultation with a qualified healthcare professional, preferably a specialist in diabetes.
The number of people living with diabetes continues to rise around the world, with the latest IDF estimates indicating that one in nine adults will be affected by 2030. This is putting added strain on healthcare systems that, following two years of a global pandemic, are already struggling. Healthcare professionals must know how to detect and diagnose the condition early and provide the best possible care; while people living with diabetes need access to ongoing education to understand their condition and carry out the daily self-care essential to staying healthy and avoiding complications.