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Bitter Facts of Diabetes and Blood Sugar - History

Diabetes, Blood sugar , Pancreas , urine , dialysis , diet control , insulin

The Bitter (& Better ) facts of Diabetes & Blood sugar !!!- History :

In the field of Heath , blood sugar is a term used to refer to levels of glucose in the Human blood.

Blood sugar concentration, or serum glucose level, is regulated in the human body.


The word diabetes was coined by Aretaeus (81–133 CE) of Cappadocia.
The word is taken from Greek diabaínein, and literally means "passing through", or "siphon", a reference to one of diabetes' major symptoms of excessive urine discharge.

The word became "diabetes" from the English adoption of the medieval Latin diabetes.

In 1675 Thomas Willis added mellitus to the name (Greek mel, "honey", sense "honey sweet") when he noted that a diabetic's urine and blood has a sweet taste (first noticed by ancient Natives).

In 1776 it was confirmed the sweet taste was because of an excess of sugar in the urine and blood.

The ancient Chinese tested for diabetes by observing whether ants were attracted to a person's urine, and called the ailment "sweet urine disease"

Tasting and Testing !!!!:
Medieval European doctors tested for it by tasting the urine themselves, a scene occasionally depicted in Gothic reliefs.

Passing abnormal amounts of urine is a symptom shared by several diseases (most commonly of the kidneys), and the single word diabetes is applied to many of them.

Back Ground and History

From Antiquity :

Although diabetes has been recognized since antiquity, nown since the Middle Ages, the elucidation of the pathogenesis of diabetes occurred mainly in the 20th century.

Role of Pancreas: Dogs sacrifice to invent Diabetis:

The invention of the role of the pancreas in diabetes is generally credited to Joseph von Mering and Oskar Minkowski, two European researchers who in 1889 found that when they completely removed the pancreas of dogs, the dogs developed all the signs and symptoms of diabetes and died shortly afterward.

In 1910, Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer of Edinburgh in Scotland suggested that diabetics were deficient in a single chemical that was normally produced by the pancreas — he proposed calling this substance insulin.

The term is derived from the Latin insula, meaning island, in reference to the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas that produce insulin.

Until 23rd June, 1921, when insulin was first discovered and made clinically available, a clinical diagnosis of what is now called type 1 diabetes was an invariable death sentence, more or less quickly.

The endocrine role of the pancreas in metabolism, and indeed the existence of insulin, was not fully clarified until 1921, when Sir Frederick Grant Banting and Charles Herbert Best repeated the work of Von Mering and Minkowski, but went a step further and demonstrated that they could reverse the induced diabetes in dogs by giving them an extract from the pancreatic islets of Langerhans of healthy dogs.

They and their colleagues went on to isolate the hormone insulin from bovine pancreases at the University of Toronto in Canada.

Start from 1922 :
This led to the availability of an effective treatment — insulin injections — and the first clinical patient was treated in 1922.

For this, Banting et al received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1923.

The two researchers made the patent available and did not attempt to control commercial production.

Insulin production and therapy rapidly spread around the world, largely as a result of their decision.

The distinction between what is now known as type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes was made by Sir Harold Percival (Harry) Himsworth in 1935 and the findings were published in January 1936 .


Published: 2006-04-28
Author: Chockalingam Eswaramurthi

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Iam a Professional writer dedicated to sharing the knowledge on topics of Public interest, be it Management , Leadership , Social service , World Politics , Personalities , Industries , Health , Computers , Policy making , Governments , Book review etc., Iam from Singapore . My e mail id is :

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