How do I find answers to my specific medical questions?
A doctor who has examined you and knows your medical history is the best person to answer your questions. The NIDDK cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice for individual situations. However, the NIDDK produces numerous health information resources for the public. The NIDDK’s Health Information section lists consumer and easy-to-read publications on health topics. You also can call 1-800-860-8747 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday – Friday or email one of the NIDDK’s Information Clearinghouses for assistance in locating information and resources.
If you are unsure which NIH Institute covers your topic of interest, go to the NIH Health Information
Index or use the NIH search engine
. If you have a complex question and are comfortable with technical articles, you can search the medical literature using the free online access to MEDLINE. MEDLINEPlus
contains more consumer-friendly information on specific disease topics and conditions than MEDLINE, and links to medical encyclopedias and dictionaries, drug information (including access to a guide to more than 9,000 prescription and over-the-counter medications provided by the U.S. Pharmacopeia), and other resources. If you still need help finding general information about a diagnosed condition, send your question to the NIDDK site manager
Can you refer me to a specialist or tell me the best place to go for treatment?
The NIDDK does not provide referrals, as we cannot and do not evaluate practicing physicians or practitioners. Ask your primary physician for a referral to a specialist or place to go for treatment. You also can contact a local medical society for a listing of specialists in your area. We recommend finding a specialist associated with a university-affiliated or teaching hospital if one is located in your area. Try to find a physician who is board certified in the specialty you need and skilled in the procedures you may undergo.
To verify a physician's credentials, look in The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists
, which is available in most public libraries. In addition, MEDLINEPlus
provides a consumer-friendly listing of organizations that will assist you in your search for physicians and other health professionals.
Does NIDDK and the NIH have medical specialists? What if I wanted to come to the NIH for treatment?
The NIDDK conducts and supports biomedical research and is not a diagnostic institution. While the NIH has a Clinical Center, patients seen there must have a physician referral and a specific diagnosis to participate in the center’s research studies.
Practicing physicians who would like to consult with an NIDDK specialist should contact the NIDDK investigator directly.
Where can I find clinical standards and treatment guidelines?
For clinical standards and treatment guidelines, search the National Guideline Clearinghouse, a public resource for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.
Does the NIDDK or the NIH have information about alternative therapies for my condition?
How can I find a support group for people with my medical condition?
Does the NIDDK have nutrition and meal planning information?
Yes, general information about nutrition and meal planning related to specific conditions and diseases is in many of our fact sheets and booklets. For individual advice about meal plans for various medical conditions, contact a registered dietitian. Your doctor can provide the name of a dietitian in your area. More information about registered dietitians is available from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
. Medicare covers dietary counseling (commonly called medical nutrition therapy—MNT) services prescribed by a doctor for people with diabetes or kidney disease. This benefit includes:
- An initial assessment of nutrition and lifestyle assessment
- Nutrition counseling
- Information regarding managing lifestyle factors that affect diet
- Follow-up visits to monitor progress managing diet