When Was Diabetes Discovered

When Was Diabetes Discovered ?

Diabetes has a long history, and was present in the ancient times. Hence, it is not a new disease, as many people believe. There have been several researchers since these times who have tried to discover how the disease was caused and what can help the patients suffering from diabetes. Even though they understood what the disease does to the human body, they were unable to tell what causes it.


From ancient Hindu scriptures to Greek philosophers like Hippocrates had an understanding of this killer disease.  However, they did not record any of their findings. Almost every ancient culture, such as the Chinese, Indians, Greek and Persians, was able to identify people who suffered with diabetes. They identified it by sampling the urine which was sweet in taste. Ants and flies were attracted to their urine sample. So, they used these simple methodologies to diagnose.

Diabetes was probably discovered in 6th century B.C., according to Girish Dwivedi, a researcher and a doctor in Middlesex, United Kingdom. Sushruta, an Indian physician in the 6th century was probably the first one to identify it. He also linked the disease to obesity and a bad lifestyle. At that time, he recommended that people with this disease should exercise.

An ancient Persian medical document called “The Canon of Medicine”, suggested some herbs that would decrease the sugar excretion from the body. Herbs such as fenugreek, zedoary seeds and lupine were used for treating diabetes.

It was in the 2nd century that diabetes and its findings became more progressive. The perspective of the disease and finding a way to treat it took an entirely new dimension. In the early 19th century, John Peter Frank found out that there were two kinds of diabetes. Later, they were named Type 1 and Type 2.

The biggest discovery was made by a German doctor called Joseph Von Mering, who discovered the pancreas of a dog. He understood that it was responsible for causing diabetes. He identified dogs with diabetes and removed their pancreas and examined them. After the involvement of pancreas was established, a British Physician named Sir Edward Sharpey discovered that the pancreas produced insulin. He also examined dogs with diabetes and found out that they had an insulin deficiency. When insulin’s impact on diabetes was established, there were major breakthroughs in the treatment of the condition.

In 1980, a company called Genetech isolated a bacteria which can promote the production of human insulin. This was the best and most advanced bioengineering achievement. The bacteria could be genetically engineered and used to treat the patients with diabetes successfully.

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When Was Diabetes Discovered