History of Diabetes Mellitus

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Mar 28, 2012

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History of Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that occurs when the blood sugar level increases beyond the normal level. The history of diabetes mellitus is very old and it is believed to exist since past 2000 years.

The term diabetes was coined by Apollonius Memphites. The first case of diabetes mellitus was reported in 1552 BC and plagued across different countries killing thousands of people.  In 150 AD, the Greek physician Arateus described diabetes as a disease in which the limbs and flesh melt down into urine. The term mellitus meaning honey in Latin was attached to diabetes by Thomas Willis in 1965; the term indicates the sweet taste of urine.

In the ancient ages of Chinese, Egyptians and Persians, people suffering from diabetes were given death sentence as this disease was considered incurable. This disease was also known as sweet urine disease. People noticed the accumulation of ants in the area where a diabetic person had urinated. It was regarded as a disease which is painful, short and would ultimately lead to death.

The first successful treatment of diabetes was reported in 1000 BC. The treatment involved the usage of herbs which reduces the secretion of sugar in urine. Herbal treatment is still used for the cure of diabetes mellitus. The relationship between pancreas and diabetes was first established in 1900 by Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer. He stated that diabetes is caused by the deficiency of a substance released from pancreas called insulin, derived from the Latin word insula.

Frederick Banting discovered the insulin drug to treat diabetes in the year 1922. After the discovery of insulin, Roger Hinsworth in 1935 discovered the two types of diabetes insulin - insulin sensitive (type I diabetes mellitus) and insulin insensitive (type II diabetes mellitus). Hinsworth explained the differences between the two types of diabetes, which later helped in the treatment of the disease.

In 1950 the oral medication of diabetes came into existence. In 1961 the first injection of insulin was developed by Becton-Dickinson. It was a faster way to treat diabetes than oral medication. Still insulin is used as the first line of treatment for diabetes. With advanced discoveries in the field of diabetes treatment, diabetes detection has become very easy and quick. Numerous home diabetes detection kits are available nowadays which are easy to use and uncomplicated. Diabetics can now monitor their blood glucose level and can make necessary changes in their lifestyle to have a healthy life.


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