Diabetes is a disease that has been plaguing mankind since as early as the time of the Egyptians in 1552 BC (Canadian Diabetes Association, 2005) as we know it. We, at the moment, understand it to be a disease created by the presence of insulin whether deficiency or resistance to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is secreted from the pancreas and its purpose is to maintain the levels of glucose within the body (through usage). A lack of insulin would therefore generally result in the inability to absorb glucose hence, for example as a side-effect, sweet urine is produced. Throughout time, our knowledge of diabetes has improved as well as our diagnosis methods and treatment methods. The following is a brief rundown of the development of the understanding of diabetes .
Araetus of Cappadocia (81-138 AD) described diabetes as the "melting down of flesh and limbs into urine" .
This conclusion was drawn from the weight loss that occurred in diabetic patients due to the inability to absorb nutrients. There was more frequent urination, hence the "melting down of flesh and limbs into urine" was believed. The term Mellitus was then later added due to the sweet tasting nature of the urine. (Welbourn R B in W F Bynum & R Porter). It should be noted that circa 1550, a mathematician by the Geronimo Cardona found the volume of urine is less than the fluids consumed by a person suffering from diabetes rather than the view that more urine was produced than water consumed which was prevalent until that time.
In 164 AD, Galen, a Greek physician, misdiagnosed diabetes as a disease of the kidneys due to the excess amounts of urine produced in diabetic patients, which had seemed to be the only viable conclusion that could...