Milestones in the history of diabetes mellitus: The main contributors
Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases involving carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism. It is characterized by persistent hyperglycemia, as a result of defects in insulin secretion, insulin action or a combination of both, defective secretion and incorrect action. There are two main types of diabetes mellitus: Type 1 (insulin-dependent), and type 2 (non-insulin-dependent). Type 1 diabetes results by the autoimmune destruction of the β-cells of the pancreatic islets and type 2 diabetes is caused from impaired insulin secretion and resistance to the action of insulin.Current epidemiological data reveal that 9% of adults, 18 years of age and older, has diabetes mellitus while it was estimated that in 2012, 1.5 million people died due to the disease. According to the World Health Organization, diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030[2-4].
The disease has a long history reaching back into antiquity. However, during that period, due to a poor knowledge of anatomy, pathophysiology and lack of diagnostic tools, the disease remained extremely perplexing to physicians.
Nevertheless, physicians in antiquity observed the distinctive features of diabetes and proposed several therapeutic approaches. In Ebers papyrus, dated back to 1500 BC, we may find passages describing patients who suffer from excessive thirst, copious urination and they are treated by plants’ extracts. However, according to the Egyptian endocrinologist, historian of medicine and translator of the Ebers papyrus Paul Ghalioungui (1908-1987), the description of Continue reading