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How Did Diabetes Get Its Name?

History Of The Pancreas

History Of The Pancreas

1. The pancreas was apparently first discovered by Herophilus, a Greek anatomist and surgeon, who was born in 336 BC in Chalcedon on the Asiatic side of the Bosporus. Herophilus was one of the founders of the ancient school of Medicine in Alexandria, Egypt. He may have been the first to have performed dissections of human bodies before public audiences. 2. Four hundred years after Herophilus, Ruphos, in the 1st or 2nd Century AD, an anatomist – surgeon of Ephesus, also in Asia Minor, gave the name “pancreas”. Writing in Greek, the word meant “all flesh”. 3. Galen (Claudius Galenus 138-201 AD), born in Asia Minor, became “Physician to the Gladiators” of Rome, as well as to the Roman Emperor. Galen taught that the role of the pancreas was to serve as a cushion or pad to protect the large blood vessels lying immediately behind it. As the most famous physician in the World, Galen’s word was “law” – not to be challenged for well over a thousand years. Being wrong, he held back scientific investigation from the 2nd to the 18th Century. 4. The study of the pancreas began on March 2, 1642, when a German émigré, Johann Georg Wirsüng, discovered the pancreatic duct in the San Francisco Monastery in Padua, Italy. Wirsüng was murdered by a student the year after the discovery. Wirsüng never knew the function of the duct which he had discovered. “Is it an artery or a vein”, he asked; “I have never seen blood in it”. A colleague named it “The Duct of Wirsüng”. 5. Reignier de Graaf (1641-1673), a 22 year old student of Leiden, Netherlands used the hollow quill of a goose feather to cannulate the pancreatic duct of a dog in 1663. De Graaf thus introduced experimentation, rather than dogma, as a basis for medical knowledge. DeGraaf died of bubonic Continue reading >>

History Of Diabetes

History Of Diabetes

The beginnings Diabetes has been affecting lives for thousands of years. An ailment suspected to be diabetes was recognized by the Egyptians in manuscripts dating to approximately 1550 B.C. According to one study, ancient Indians (circa 400–500 A.D.) were well aware of the condition, and had even identified two types of the condition. They tested for diabetes — which they called “honey urine” — by determining if ants were attracted to a person’s urine. The term “diabetes” In Greek, “diabetes” means “to go through.” Greek physician Apollonius of Memphis is credited with naming the disorder for its top symptom: the excessive passing of urine through the body’s system. Historical documents show that Greek, Indian, Arab, Egyptian, and Chinese doctors were aware of the condition, but none could determine its cause. In earlier times, a diagnosis of diabetes was likely a death sentence. Insulin deficiency In the early years of the 20th century, medical professionals took the first steps toward discovering a cause and treatment mode for diabetes. In 1926, Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer announced that the pancreas of a patient with diabetes was unable to produce what he termed “insulin,” a chemical the body uses to break down sugar. Thus, excess sugar ended up in the urine. Physicians promoted a fasting diet combined with regular exercise to combat the disorder. Diabetes in dogs Despite attempts to manage the disorder through diet and exercise, people with diabetes inevitably died prematurely. In 1921, scientists experimenting with dogs had a breakthrough in reversing the effects of diabetes. Two Canadian researchers, Frederick Grant Banting and Charles Herbert Best, successfully extracted insulin from healthy dogs. They then injected it into dogs th Continue reading >>

Pediatric Diabetes Insipidus

Pediatric Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus (DI) is part of a group of hereditary or acquired polyuria and polydipsia diseases in which the kidneys pass large amounts of water irrespective of the body's hydration state. DI is due either to (1) deficient secretion of ADH by the pituitary gland (central or neurogenic DI) or to (2) renal tubular unresponsiveness to vasopressin (nephrogenic DI). The hallmarks of central DI (CDI) are polyuria (urine volume in excess of 150 ml/kg/24 hr at birth, 100-110 ml/kg/24 hr until the age of 2 years, and 40-50 ml/kg/24 hr in older children and adults), dilute urine (osmolality <300 mOsm/L), and polydipsia (water intake of up to 20 L/day). [1] Nephrogenic DI (NDI) is characterized by polyuria with polydipsia, recurrent bouts of fever, constipation, and acute hypernatremic dehydration after birth that may cause neurologic sequelae. Acquired CDI can occur at any age and is usually secondary to a condition damaging the central nervous system. Typical injuries include head trauma, tumor, and neurosurgical procedures. CDI is considered idiopathic in 20-50% of cases. [2] Central DI with an autosomal dominant pattern inheritance is due to a mutation in the prepro-arginine vasopressin (prepro-AVP2) gene, mapped to locus 20p13. Central DI with diabetes mellitus, optic atrophy, and mental retardation (Wolfram syndrome) may be inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern (locus 4p16) or may be due to mitochondrial deletions. [1] In most cases, NDI is caused by mutations in the gene located on Xq28 coding for the V2 receptor of antidiuretic hormone (AVPR2). [3, 4, 5] In cases of autosomal recessive or dominant transmission, NDI is caused by mutations in the AQP2 gene (located on chromosome 12) that codes for aquaporin-2. Aquaporin-2 is involved in the transportation of wate Continue reading >>

Treating Diabetes: 1921 To The Present Day

Treating Diabetes: 1921 To The Present Day

The lives of people with diabetes has changed considerably in 50 years. They now have specific tools and easier access to information than ever before. The healthcare professionals who treat them also know more about the complexity of the disease, and which treatments work best. Pending the next medical revolution, Diabetes Québec is demanding the implementation of a national strategy to fight diabetes – a strategy founded on education, prevention, support and treatment. The last 60 years have clearly demonstrated that people with diabetes who are well informed, properly supported and treated appropriately live longer lives in better health. The discovery of insulin and glycemic control Insulin, discovered in 1921 by the legendary Banting, Best and MacLeod collaboration, is nothing short of a miracle. Worldwide, it has saved thousands of patients from certain death. Before the discovery of insulin, diabetics were doomed. Even on a strict diet, they could last no more than three or four years. However, despite the many types of insulin and the first oral hypoglycemic agents that came to market around 1957 in Canada, glycemia control – the control of blood glucose (sugar) levels – still remains an imprecise science. In the 1950s, the method a person used to control his blood glucose levels was to drop a reagent tablet into a small test tube containing a few drops of urine mixed with water. The resulting colour – from dark blue to orange – indicated the amount of sugar in the urine. Even when they monitored their patients closely, doctors realized that blood glucose levels had to be much better controlled in order to delay the major complications significantly affecting their patients’ lives: blindness, kidney disease, gangrene, heart attack and stroke. A disc Continue reading >>

The History Of Diabetes

The History Of Diabetes

Scientists and physicians have been documenting the condition now known as diabetes for thousands of years. From the origins of its discovery to the dramatic breakthroughs in its treatment, many brilliant minds have played a part in the fascinating history of diabetes. Diabetes: Its Beginnings The first known mention of diabetes symptoms was in 1552 B.C., when Hesy-Ra, an Egyptian physician, documented frequent urination as a symptom of a mysterious disease that also caused emaciation. Also around this time, ancient healers noted that ants seemed to be attracted to the urine of people who had this disease. In 150 AD, the Greek physician Arateus described what we now call diabetes as "the melting down of flesh and limbs into urine." From then on, physicians began to gain a better understanding about diabetes. Centuries later, people known as "water tasters" diagnosed diabetes by tasting the urine of people suspected to have it. If urine tasted sweet, diabetes was diagnosed. To acknowledge this feature, in 1675 the word "mellitus," meaning honey, was added to the name "diabetes," meaning siphon. It wasn't until the 1800s that scientists developed chemical tests to detect the presence of sugar in the urine. Diabetes: Early Treatments As physicians learned more about diabetes, they began to understand how it could be managed. The first diabetes treatment involved prescribed exercise, often horseback riding, which was thought to relieve excessive urination. In the 1700s and 1800s, physicians began to realize that dietary changes could help manage diabetes, and they advised their patients to do things like eat only the fat and meat of animals or consume large amounts of sugar. During the Franco-Prussian War of the early 1870s, the French physician Apollinaire Bouchardat noted Continue reading >>

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

Print Overview Type 2 diabetes, once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), your body's important source of fuel. With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells — or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. More common in adults, type 2 diabetes increasingly affects children as childhood obesity increases. There's no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you may be able to manage the condition by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise aren't enough to manage your blood sugar well, you also may need diabetes medications or insulin therapy. Symptoms Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly. In fact, you can have type 2 diabetes for years and not know it. Look for: Increased thirst and frequent urination. Excess sugar building up in your bloodstream causes fluid to be pulled from the tissues. This may leave you thirsty. As a result, you may drink — and urinate — more than usual. Increased hunger. Without enough insulin to move sugar into your cells, your muscles and organs become depleted of energy. This triggers intense hunger. Weight loss. Despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger, you may lose weight. Without the ability to metabolize glucose, the body uses alternative fuels stored in muscle and fat. Calories are lost as excess glucose is released in the urine. Fatigue. If your cells are deprived of sugar, you may become tired and irritable. Blurred vision. If your blood sugar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your eyes. This may affect your ability to focus. Slow-healing sores o Continue reading >>

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas by special cells, called beta cells. The pancreas is below and behind the stomach. Insulin is needed to move blood sugar (glucose) into cells. Inside the cells, glucose is stored and later used for energy. When you have type 2 diabetes, your fat, liver, and muscle cells do not respond correctly to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. As a result, blood sugar does not get into these cells to be stored for energy. When sugar cannot enter cells, a high level of sugar builds up in the blood. This is called hyperglycemia. The body is unable to use the glucose for energy. This leads to the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly over time. Most people with the disease are overweight or obese when they are diagnosed. Increased fat makes it harder for your body to use insulin the correct way. Type 2 diabetes can also develop in people who are thin. This is more common in older adults. Family history and genes play a role in type 2 diabetes. Low activity level, poor diet, and excess body weight around the waist increase your chance of getting the disease. Continue reading >>

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Overview Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar (glucose) level to become too high. The hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas, is responsible for controlling the amount of glucose in the blood. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 – where the pancreas doesn't produce any insulin type 2 – where the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or the body's cells don't react to insulin These pages are about type 1 diabetes. Other types of diabetes are covered separately (read about type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes, which affects some women during pregnancy). Symptoms of diabetes Typical symptoms of type 1 diabetes are: feeling very thirsty passing urine more often than usual, particularly at night feeling very tired weight loss and loss of muscle bulk The symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually develop very quickly in young people (over a few days or weeks). In adults, the symptoms often take longer to develop (a few months). Read more about the symptoms of type 1 diabetes. These symptoms occur because the lack of insulin means that glucose stays in the blood and isn’t used as fuel for energy. Your body tries to reduce blood glucose levels by getting rid of the excess glucose in your urine. It's very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as soon as possible, because it will get progressively worse if left untreated. Find your local GP service Read about how type 1 diabetes is diagnosed. Causes of type 1 diabetes Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, which means your immune system attacks healthy body tissue by mistake. In this case, it attacks the cells in your pancreas. Your damaged pancreas is then unable to produce insulin. So, glucose cannot be moved out of your bloodstream and into your cells. Type 1 diabetes is o Continue reading >>

The History Of A Wonderful Thing We Call Insulin

The History Of A Wonderful Thing We Call Insulin

Since the dawn of time, we have searched for ways to make life easier for us. The modern age has given us some amazing technological advances—what we would do without the internet, our iPhones or high-speed travel? For many people, surviving life without these things sounds rough. However, if you have diabetes, no doubt you’re also a big fan of one particular 20th-century discovery: insulin. Before insulin was discovered in 1921, people with diabetes didn’t live for long; there wasn’t much doctors could do for them. The most effective treatment was to put patients with diabetes on very strict diets with minimal carbohydrate intake. This could buy patients a few extra years but couldn’t save them. Harsh diets (some prescribed as little as 450 calories a day!) sometimes even caused patients to die of starvation. So how did this wonderful breakthrough blossom? Let’s travel back a little more than 100 years ago.… In 1889, two German researchers, Oskar Minkowski and Joseph von Mering, found that when the pancreas gland was removed from dogs, the animals developed symptoms of diabetes and died soon afterward. This led to the idea that the pancreas was the site where “pancreatic substances” (insulin) were produced. Later experimenters narrowed this search to the islets of Langerhans (a fancy name for clusters of specialized cells in the pancreas). In 1910, Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Shafer suggested only one chemical was missing from the pancreas in people with diabetes. He decided to call this chemical insulin, which comes for the Latin word insula, meaning “island.” So what happened next? Something truly miraculous. In 1921, a young surgeon named Frederick Banting and his assistant Charles Best figured out how to remove insulin from a dog’s pancreas. S Continue reading >>

Insulin And Diabetes Management

Insulin And Diabetes Management

Diabetes results when the body cannot make or adequately use insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas. Insulin is critical for the body to metabolize carbohydrates (sugars) and obtain the energy essential to maintain life. The disease's classic symptoms – frequent urination and excessive thirst – along with the telltale presence of sugar in the urine, gave rise to its name, Diabetes (siphon) mellitus (honey-sweet). In the early 1920s, the discovery of insulin transformed the treatment of diabetes and the lives of those afflicted with the disease. In 1923, Smithsonian’s associate curator of medicine, Charles Whitebread, sought the cooperation of the Eli Lilly Company to help produce an exhibit about the new drug. The resulting display included photographs and specimens illustrating the steps in the manufacture of insulin from pig pancreas to ampules of purified insulin ready for injection. From this modest beginning the Smithsonian’s collection of diabetes related artifacts has grown. The focus is on the tools and technology associated with diabetes treatment and the daily management of the disease. Take a look to see how insulin, insulin injection devices, and glucose (sugar) monitoring techniques have changed over time in the United States. Continue reading >>

Diabetes Mellitus, Prediabetes, And Metabolic Syndrome

Diabetes Mellitus, Prediabetes, And Metabolic Syndrome

What is Diabetes Mellitus, Prediabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, or Elevated Blood Sugar? Elevated blood sugar (or hyperglycemia) has different titles depending on how high your blood sugar climbs. The first stage of elevated blood sugar is called hyperglycemia. If you have the triad of overweight, elevated blood sugar, and high cholesterol, you will be given a diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome. If your blood sugar continues to rise, you will then be diagnosed with Prediabetes which is the step before the final diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus. If your Diabetes is difficult to control, you may require insulin. You may have heard of the different types of Diabetes Mellitus. Most people have Diabetes Mellitus type II. The younger people that get diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus and immediately require insulin are type I. Elevated Blood Sugar  Prediabetes  Diabetes Mellitus type II Elevated Blood Sugar + Overweight + High Cholesterol = Metabolic Syndrome How did Diabetes Mellitus get its name? Diabetes can be traced back to Egyptian times, but the Latin name of Diabetes Mellitus came from Ancient Greeks. It means “siphon of sugar” or “sweet urine.” It was given this name after the sweet-taste of urine in people who have this disease. When blood sugar gets high, it begins spilling into the urine, and the Ancient Greeks were able to taste the sweetness. Why is it important to get checked for elevated blood sugar? Diabetes and elevated blood sugar does not usually have symptoms in the early stages of the disease. However, it is the leading cause of multiple diseases, including blindness, heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, and many others. Discovering early signs of insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar is important because it allows you to make the appropriate Continue reading >>

Types Of Diabetes Mellitus

Types Of Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus (or diabetes) is a chronic, lifelong condition that affects your body's ability to use the energy found in food. There are three major types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. All types of diabetes mellitus have something in common. Normally, your body breaks down the sugars and carbohydrates you eat into a special sugar called glucose. Glucose fuels the cells in your body. But the cells need insulin, a hormone, in your bloodstream in order to take in the glucose and use it for energy. With diabetes mellitus, either your body doesn't make enough insulin, it can't use the insulin it does produce, or a combination of both. Since the cells can't take in the glucose, it builds up in your blood. High levels of blood glucose can damage the tiny blood vessels in your kidneys, heart, eyes, or nervous system. That's why diabetes -- especially if left untreated -- can eventually cause heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and nerve damage to nerves in the feet. Type 1 diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes. It used to be called juvenile-onset diabetes, because it often begins in childhood. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. It's caused by the body attacking its own pancreas with antibodies. In people with type 1 diabetes, the damaged pancreas doesn't make insulin. This type of diabetes may be caused by a genetic predisposition. It could also be the result of faulty beta cells in the pancreas that normally produce insulin. A number of medical risks are associated with type 1 diabetes. Many of them stem from damage to the tiny blood vessels in your eyes (called diabetic retinopathy), nerves (diabetic neuropathy), and kidneys (diabetic nephropathy). Even more serious is the increased risk of hea Continue reading >>

Sickening Sweet

Sickening Sweet

CHF Collections Relics from a lab hint at centuries spent trying to solve diabetes. Thomas Willis pensively sipped from his glass. It was sweet, even a little delicious. In 1674 the Oxford University physician was far from the first doctor to taste urine, but he was the first Western doctor we know of to connect the sweetness of urine to the condition of its owner, a person suffering the effects of diabetes. Willis was baffled by his findings and recorded his experience in Pharmaceutice rationalis: “But why that it is wonderfully sweet like sugar or honey, this difficulty is worthy of explanation.” Willis never figured out why his specimen was sweet, but his observations helped future researchers isolate the cause of diabetes. Diabetes impairs the body’s ability to properly regulate the amount of sugar, or glucose, in the blood and can lead to dehydration (from frequent urination), malnutrition, seizures, kidney failure, and ultimately death. Today diabetes is no longer a death sentence, but even with vigilant monitoring of blood-sugar levels and widely available artificial insulin, people with the disease still die prematurely. The story of how we came to understand diabetes stretches from ancient papyrus to modern smartphones. The first recorded treatment for “excessive urination” can be found in the Ebers papyrus, written in Egypt around 1550 BCE and named for its discoverer, German Egyptologist Georg Ebers. The papyrus suggests downing “a measuring glass filled with Water from the Bird pond, Elderberry, Fibres of the asit plant, Fresh Milk, Beer-Swill, Flower of the Cucumber, and Green Dates.” Egyptian physicians suspected that there was some connection between what people ate and the symptoms we now associate with diabetes, but none of their treatment Continue reading >>

Diabetes: Definition, Causes And Symptoms

Diabetes: Definition, Causes And Symptoms

What is diabetes? Diabetes is a disease that affects your body’s ability to produce or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone. When your body turns the food you eat into energy (also called sugar or glucose), insulin is released to help transport this energy to the cells. Insulin acts as a “key.” Its chemical message tells the cell to open and receive glucose. If you produce little or no insulin, or are insulin resistant, too much sugar remains in your blood. Blood glucose levels are higher than normal for individuals with diabetes. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. What is Type 1 diabetes? When you are affected with Type 1 diabetes, your pancreas does not produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is also called juvenile diabetes, since it is often diagnosed in children or teens. This type accounts for 5-10 percent of people with diabetes. What is Type 2 diabetes? Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or when the cells are unable to use insulin properly, which is called insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is commonly called “adult-onset diabetes” since it is diagnosed later in life, generally after the age of 45. 90-95 percent of people with diabetes have this type. In recent years Type 2 diabetes has been diagnosed in younger people, including children, more frequently than in the past. Are there other forms of diabetes? Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and affects about 18 percent of all pregnancies, according to the American Diabetes Association. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy, but once you've had gestational diabetes, your chances are higher that it will happen in future pregnancies. In some women pregnancy uncovers Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and these women will need to continue d Continue reading >>

Discovery Of Insulin

Discovery Of Insulin

The discovery of insulin was one of the most dramatic and important milestones in medicine - a Nobel Prize-winning moment in science. Witnesses to the first people ever to be treated with insulin saw "one of the genuine miracles of modern medicine," says the author of a book charting its discovery.1 Starved and sometimes comatose patients with diabetes would return to life after receiving insulin. But how and when was the discovery made, and who made it? How and when was insulin discovered? The discovery of insulin did not come out of the blue; it was made on the back of a growing understanding of diabetes mellitus during the nineteenth century. Diabetes itself had been understood by its symptoms as far back as the 1600s - when it was described as the "pissing evile" - and the urination and thirst associated with it had been recognized thousands of years before. A feared and usually deadly disease, doctors in the nineteenth century knew that sugar worsened diabetes and that limited help could be given by dietary restriction of sugar. But if that helped, it also caused death from starvation. Scientists observed the damaged pancreases of people who died with diabetes. In 1869, a German medical student found clusters of cells in the pancreas that would go on to be named after him. Paul Langerhans had discovered the beta cells that produce insulin. Other work in animals then showed that carbohydrate metabolism was impossible once the pancreas was removed - the amount of sugar in the blood and urine rose sharply, and death from diabetes soon followed. In 1889, Oscar Minkowski and Joseph von Mering removed a dog's pancreas to study its effects on digestion. They found sugar in the dog's urine after flies were noticed feeding off it. In humans, doctors would once have diagnose Continue reading >>

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