Since you are reading this article on the Internet, you can pride yourself that you can use the world’s largest information technology. But this technology is so new and complex that nobody can claim to fully understand it.
Learning how to search the Internet is such a new skill, the tools have become so sophisticated, and the data is so vast that you have to work at it full-time to master it. I have worked at it every day for more than 20 years in my career of writing about diabetes and I am still learning new tricks. It’s time for me to share some of the best ones.
In just two decades knowing how to search the Internet has become an essential learning skill. With more than four billion Web pages, the Internet already contains far more information than the world’s largest physical library, which has about 170 million items including some 14 million books.
As we grow older the sensation of thirst frequently declines, a new study show. “Thirst is not a good guide to the need to drink in older people,” writes Lee Hooper, PhD, and other researchers at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Not drinking enough water can lead to disability and even death.
But the standard advice has been to drink only when we are thirsty. Now it seems that this isn’t right for everyone.
The new study, “Which Frail Older People Are Dehydrated?,” was published recently in The Journal of Gerontology. While only the abstract is free online, Dr. Hooper kindly sent me the full-text. This is the first report that takes into account both a large study group and a large range of health factors. The research took place in 56 residential care homes where the team studied 188 people older than 65.
When you want to learn anything about diabetes beyond what you read here, the quickest and easiest way is to search the Internet. But the amount of information and misinformation there has grown so immense that the simplest search can seem like an impossible task.
In the past two decades or so, the Internet has become essentially the biggest library ever created. Nobody knows how many websites are out there, partly because that number changes so rapidly, but there are probably about one billion of them with well over four billion web pages.
Because the Internet is the new digital equivalent of a physical library, consider that the British Library in London is the world’s largest physical library. It has about 170 million items including some 14 million books. And instead of card catalogs that libraries use, the Internet has search engines and links to help you find your away around its vast resources. Although card catalogs index a library’s holdings by author and title and may list one or two subjects, the Internet’s search tools take cross-referencing to a higher dimension.
Starting an Internet search is easy. You just enter the name of your search engine of choice in whatever browser you use. You can use one of many different browsers, like Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox. But for search engines, two-thirds of all Internet searches use Google. So if you haven’t used it, you might want to remember its Internet address: google.com
When you look for high-quality videos about diabetes health topics, it’s frustrating and often unsuccessful. Yet finding the right information at the right time is critical to staying in control of your health.
A friend of mine with deep ties to the diabetes community, Dr. Dirk Boecker, is developing a new medical video portal: Lucy’s Cabinet — Top Medical Videos. He has brought together experts in the field of diabetes to select the highest-quality videos across a wide spectrum of diabetes topics.
Dr. Boecker is inviting us to beta test the portal. I checked out the portal, saw some of my favorite videos there, and even suggested a new category, a passion of mine, as you know — low-carb.
When you found out that you have diabetes, you might have been awfully scared. That’s good.
“My numbers are 6.1,” Tina wrote me recently. “Where should I start? I’m so scared!”
Tina has type 2 diabetes, and this may be the most important question she ever asked. So I answered her carefully:
When people get diagnosed with diabetes, Tina, they are either scared or in denial about it. Being scared is better. But even being scared doesn’t help.
Did a doctor just tell you that you have diabetes? If so, it was probably during a short appointment. Only if you were awfully lucky, did you find out the most important things that you will have to do to manage it well.
Instead, you were probably in shock, and because of that you probably missed what the doctor told you. So you’ve got to be prepared for the next appointment, and this is what you need to ask:
When I see a doctor, my first question is, “How much time do we have for this appointment?” Our doctors tend to dominate the time that we have together, so asking this will give put him or her on notice that you have your own questions.
Consider yourself lucky if your appointment is for 20 minutes. I still remember when in 1994 a doctor told me I had diabetes. I didn’t know a thing about it and started to ask him questions. But he cut me off, saying that my appointment was limited to 14 minutes.
You can read dozens of websites that will list the 10 or more questions for you to ask your doctor. That’s nonsense! You will be lucky to have time to ask more than one of them and get a solid answer. In my experience, your doctor will go on and on in answering your first question, getting into details that you aren’t ready to understand yet.