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Decoding the History of Diabetes

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"...For fluids do not remain in the body, but use the body only as a channel through which they may flow out. Life lasts only for a time, but not very long. For they urinate with pain and painful is the emaciation. For no essential part of the drink is absorbed by the body while great masses of the flesh are liquefied into urine." - Aretaeus, the Cappodacian speaks on diabetes

For almost over 2000 years now, the world has been afflicted by this condition called diabetes. Somewhere in the 1st century AD, the Greek Aretaeus described the extent of destruction that diabetes can have on the body system. He named it diabetes after the Greek word which can be translated to 'siphon'. Ancient physicians like him, who determined the history of diabetes and its future course, were capable of pinpointing the symptoms. Unfortunately, though, they were powerless when it came to treatment methods.

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History Of Diabetes - Phase 1

The Human Guinea Pigs

London physician Dr. Thomas Willis was amongst the first ones to determine whether his patients had diabetes or not. He did this by sampling their urine. He used what was called the 'ant test' to do so. He would collect a sample of their urine; and let it stay out for a night. If ants had collected on it the next morning, it would mean that their blood was 'honeyed', as he put it. This would help him conclude that they had diabetes, since the higher level of glucose had attracted the ants.

This remained to be the method of testing almost until the 20th century.

Diabetologists like Dr. Fredrick Allen tried to find ways of extending their diabetic patients lives by prescribing a 450 calorie meal. This did not really help too much. It just made the patients weak and caused them to suffer some more. A few of them did have a longer lifespan; but it was not devoid of the suffering. People diagnosed with diabetes would come and hand themselves over to the medical institutes; and the only method left for them would be to pray that they get cured.

The patients would then go into a diabetic coma; the initial signs of which would include them gasping for air. Doctors dubbed this process as 'hunger for air' or 'internal suffocation'. At this stage, the patients family would be allowed to pay their last respects; since this generally meant the end was near.

History of Diabetes - Phase 2

The Discovery Of Insulin

In the year 1921, something miraculous happened in Ontario, Canada. A young surgeon, by the name of Fredrick Banting; along with his assistant Charles Best, were working on a diabetic dog. They kept him alive by injecting it with a murky mixture of pancreas extracts created from canines. Along with help from Dr. Collip and Dr. Macleod, they created a more refined extract of this murky insulin, which was administered to a young boy called Leonard Thompson, who was dying of diabetes. He had dangerously high levels of diabetes; which dropped to near normal levels after the insulin was administered to him.

Until this discovery of insulin, most of the children who had been diagnosed with this condition were not seen to live for more than a year. The news of the insulin extract was welcomed by such the parents of afflicted children and the children themselves.

History of Diabetes - Phase 3

The Action Unfolded

In 1935, the two types of diabetes - type 1 (insulin sensitive) and type 2 (insulin insensitive) - were discovered by Roger Hinsworth. Newer avenues for treatment opened up with this discovery. The late 1930s onwards, pork and beef insulin began to be created to help in managing diabetes.

Oral medicines were invented in the 1950s, and urine strips in 1960s. Becton-Dickinson (BD) were the first to invent the single-use syringe in 1961. They helped in reducing the pain caused by these injections.

What methods of treatment are known to us today began to shape up in the 1970s. They were improvised upon to get them to the state that they are in today.

Are You Diabetic is a total guide for diabetes. it gives info on signs of diabetes, gestational diabetes diet [] and all history of diabetes.

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