Who Discovered Diabetes

Who Discovered Diabetes ?

Diabetes is known to be one of the most common diseases affecting Americans today. However the disease is not new to humans and it has been referenced for several years now. Who discovered diabetes is a difficult question to answer as the time line of history is very long.


Diabetes was mentioned in the ancient times. The early Hindu texts refer to diabetes and that they used flies and ants to detect sugar in urine. Flies and ants get attracted to urine if there is glucose in it. In 400 B.C., an Indian physician called Susharta diagnosed diabetes through the sweet taste of urine.

Diabetes is a Greek word and it means siphon. The disease was called so, because of the tendency of Diabetics to urinate frequently. They are siphoning the water from the body.
During the Middle Ages, diabetes gained more prominence as a killer disease.

In 1674, the personal physician of King George II, Thomas Willis, came up with the term “Diabetes Mellitus”. He said the urine was as if it were a combination of honey and sugar. Mellitus in Latin means honey.

From the beginning of the 17th century to 18th century, several types of treatments were tried to cure diabetes. Leeches were used to suck bad blood, opium was given and diets were also strict. Only the restrictions on diet seemed to work in the end. However, there was no long term solution for the disease.

Diabetes in the modern era took a giant leap. In 1889, Joseph Von Meringand and Oskar Minkowski, two German doctors, were responsible for discovering the pancreas in the human body. They experimented by removing the pancreas from a diabetic dog.

In 1921, another doctor called Dr. Frederick Banting generated insulin and called it istelin. When he tested it on dogs that had diabetes, the result was that the dogs stayed alive. He found that insulin helped to recreate the glucose transfer between the blood and cells in dogs.

By 1922, insulin was further refined and was tried out on a human being for the first time. Leonard, Thompson was the first boy, who was 14 years old and had diabetes, to take the insulin injection. He showed tremendous improvement in his health.

After that the mass production of insulin began. By 1970, the breakthrough in DNA technology caused further improvement in the treatment of Diabetes. As of today, the United States government health website lists more than 4,000 official studies on diabetes, as researchers are still trying to find a cure for it.

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Who Discovered Diabetes