History of diabetes:

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Diabetes in simple words means that it is defect in the metabolism of the body. We all are aware of nuclear chain reactions in the similar way we can compare diabetes to a serious of chain diseases which when affected then leads to several threatening diseases.1

Diabetes which is derived from a Greek word 'siphon' which means passing through of water and mellitus is a Latin word which refers honeysweet.1

In northern European countries in the period of 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, middle class typical diet consists of roast meats with fat, sugar pastries with huge amount of butter and less leafy vegetables. People assumed that this dietary condition is responsible for their diabetic condition. At this period doctors tasted the urine of patients to check sweetness in the case of analyzing diabetic condition.1
In the early times of 16th century people first discovered the symptoms of diabetes such as terrible thirst, weight loss, continuous urination and finally leading to painful death even though they are unaware of diabetes. Kids with this disease died early.2
All the above things took more than 1200 years to name it as diabetes.
Since the beginning it was never difficult to diagnose diabetes. According to ancient Hindu writings black ants were able to detect this. Attraction of flies and ants to the urine of the patient is also taken as a diagnosis method for diabetes in early days.2

Before going deep into the history first we need to know how this history benefits us. Study of diabetes history helps the patients to understand how exactly the treatment works. It helps in analyzing the symptoms, changes in activities during various stages of diabetes etc..,3
Its quite amazing and little shocking to know that in ancient times diabetes is diagnosed by studying the attraction of ants towards the urine. So it is also termed as "sweet urine disease" by the Indians.3

In the year 1425, English medical text recorded the word diabetes. Dr. Thomas Willis found that patients with diabetes have sugar taste in the urine. 3
Later pancreas role in the diabetes has been found based on research over animals.
The most important year to be noted in the history of diabetes is 1921, in which Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin. Some scientists classify the diabetic history as before Banting Era and After Banting Era. Later in 1922 Banting won a noble prize for his amazing work in this field and also he succeeded in reducing the diabetic effect after using insulin.3

Sir Harold Percival Himsworth differentiated type1 and type 2 diabetes in the year 1936.
Anti diabetic drug named sulfonylurea is discovered in treatment for the type 2 diabetes in the year 1942 and later oral medications of sulfonylurea are developed in the year 1956.3
Later single use syringe, Derma-Ject needle free insulin delivery systems, Lispro etc.., came into the market for treating diabetes.3
First portable blood glucose meter is created by Ames Diagnostics to differentiate between the type of diabetes.3
Radio Immunoassay and Hemoglobin A1c test is created for the measurement of glucose levels in the blood.3
One of the novel development in the diabetes is done in the year 2007 in which the bone marrow stem cells from the own patient is taken and used as a part of treatment which resulted in no longer use treatment of diabetes with insulin as necessary.3

"This blog does not contain plagiarized material"4, 5

1. http://diabetes.ygoy.com/history-of-diabetes/
[Accessed on 16/08/2010]
2. http://www.diabetesindia.com/diabetes/history_diabetes.htm
[Accessed on 18/08/2010]
3. http://www.enjoying-life-with-diabetes.com/history-of-diabetes.html
[Accessed on 23/08/2010]
4. http://www.articlechecker.com/checker.php
Matched Phrases Google Results Found Yahoo Results Found
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[Accessed on 11/09/2010]
5. http://www.dustball.com/cs/plagiarism.checker/

Results: No plagiarism suspected
[Accessed on 11/09/2010]


About the Author

Shanthi Priya's picture
Author: Shanthi Priya


kranthi kumar's picture

Dear Shanthi, I am know this history for the first time. Especially to know that more than 1200 years were taken to name it as diabetes. To analysis and formulation and sysmptoms were discovered during those time, when there were no sofistated instrument like today.
Uma Pratyusha's picture

Hi Shantipriya, Its really amazing to know that diabetes has such a huge history and this was the 1st time I have ever read. Everything was nice but you haven't kept the reference nos. as superscripts which is a bit confusing.


Uma Prathyusha

V.B.S.Aishwarya's picture

Dear Shanthi, Good collection... Every time we just focus on disease or disorder but this history also helps a lot Thank you






P.V.ABHIGNA's picture

Dear shanthi, Its quite surprising to read this history of diabetes.So this is another example to show that our people(of india)were great scholars be it any subject. Regards,


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