THE HISTORY OF DIABETES
 

Diabetes: 'dia' = through - 'betes' = to go

1500 B.C.
The Papyrus Ebers of Ancient Egyptians had a number of remedies for combating the passing of too much urine (polyuria).
Hindus in the Ayur Veda recorded that insects and flies were attracted to the urine of some people, that the urine tasted sweet, and that this was associated with certain diseases.

1000 B.C.
The father of medicine in India, Susruta of the Hindus, diagnosed Diabetes Mellitus (DM).
Early Greeks had no treatment for DM, latter Greeks like Aretaeus, Celsus and Galen described DM. Celsus described the pathologic condition "diabetes". Aretaeus first defined the difference between DM and Diabetes Insipidus (DI), a rare disease characterized by the passage of large amounts of urine and intense thirst.

276 B.C.
Demetris of Apamea refines the diagnosis of DM.

230 B.C.
Caelius Aurelianus said that Apollonius of Memphis coined the term "diabetes".
Apollonius thought it was a form of dropsy.
Paul of Aegina refined further the diagnosis of "dypsacus" (diabetes), associated with the weakness of the kidneys and excess moisture from the body, leading to dehydration. He prescribed a remedy of pot-herbs, endive, lettuce, rock-fishes, juices of knotgrass, elecampane in dark colored wine and decoctions of dates and myrtle to drink in the first stages of the disease, followed by cataplasms to the hypochondrium over the kidneys consisting of vinegar, rose oil and navel-wort. He warned against the use of diuretics, but venesection (cutting of veins) was permitted.

45 - 117 A.D.
Aetius prescribed a cooling diet, diluted wine, and cooling applications to the loins as a treatment for DI. For latter stages he used opiates and mandragors.

865 - 925 A.D.
Arabian writer Rhazea translated and shared the information of DM from the Hindus.

900 - 1037 A.D.
Avicenna prescribed emetics and sudorifics, directed that all diuretic foods and drugs be avoided and that the patients engage in exercise (preferably on horseback) to "employ moderate friction". In the latter stages of DM he recommended tepid baths and fragrant wine.
The Moslem Haly Abbas thought DM was caused by excessive heat within the viscus, calling it dysentery of the discrepancy.

1257 A.D.
Physicians prescribed use of purgatives to relieve strain on the kidneys, astringents and refrigerant remedies.

1501 - 1576 A.D.
Cardona measured the intake and output of fluids, found a great discrepancy in the figures and surmised that people with diabetes lose more water than they take in due to some unknown reason.

1622 - 1675 A.D.
Rediscovery of the Hindu Doctor Susruta's works. It was believed that DM was due to humoral changes and excessive drinking. It was theorized that DM was a disease of the blood. Astringents were prescribed as a remedy.

1798 A.D.
John Rollo certifies excess sugar in the blood.

1813 - 1878 A.D.
Claude Bernard theorized that DM was caused by glycogenolysis from the glycogen stored in the liver.

1816 - 1876 A.D.
L. Traube related that the intake of carbohydrates and its digestion increases the amount of sugar in the urine, that the stopping of the intake of the carbohydrate eliminates most of this sugar in the urine.

1889 A.D.
Mehring and Minkowski produce DM in dogs by removing the pancreas.

1921 A.D.
Banting and Best find insulin is secreted from the islet cells of the pancreas.