Recent technological advances in T1D self-management include not only devices like glucose meters, insulin pumps, and continuous glucose monitors (CGM), but also social media and the ability to find peer support more easily and quickly than ever. However, it is largely unknown how some social media, including blogs, are used in self-management and what effects they might have. This study compared A1c in adults with T1D who read T1D-themed blogs and adults with T1D who do not read such blogs.
Methods: Participants were recruited online through popular T1D-themed blogs and through a mailing to adults with T1D listed in the Penn State diabetes registry. Self-reported A1c, blog use, insulin pump use, CGM use, and sociodemographic factors were assessed. Univariate analysis evaluated for A1c differences between groups across variables including blog use, insulin pump use, and CGM use. Linear regression adjusted for significant covariates.
Results: 282 completed surveys were received (214 blog readers, 68 blog non-readers). A1c was lower for blog readers than blog non-readers (7.vs. 7.48, P=.006), for insulin pump users than multiple daily injections (7.04 vs. 7.65, P=.001), and for CGM users than CGM non-users (6.99 vs. 7.47, P=.001). After adjusting for significant covariates, the association between blog use and A1c remained significant (P=.039).
Conclusions: Reading T1D-themed blogs was found to be associated with glycemic control; self-reported A1c was 0.43% lower among blog readers than among blog non-readers, a clinically significant difference approaching the magnitude seen with CGM use (0.48%) and insulin pump use (0.61%). The A1c differences among pump users and CGM users in this study are similar to those found by others, lending support to the likelihood of a true association between A1c and blog use. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate blog use and A1c and therefore the first to find an association between them. Further research should seek to explain the reasons for this association.
S.M. Oser: None. T. Oser: None. E.L. McGinley: None. A. Berg: None. H.L. Stuckey: Consultant; Spouse/Partner; Calibra Medical, Eli Lilly and Company. Research Support; Spouse/Partner; Novo Nordisk Inc.. Research Support; Self; Eli Lilly and Company, Novo Nordisk Inc..