64 Interesting Facts About Diabetes
64 Interesting Facts About Diabetes
• The word “diabetes” is Greek for “siphon,” which refers to the copious urine of uncontrolled diabetes. “Mellitus” is Latin for “honey” or “sweet,” a name added when physicians discovered that the urine from people with diabetes is sweet with glucose.
• Scientists predict that there may be 30 million new cases of diabetes in China alone by 2025.
• The earliest recorded mention of a disease that can be recognized as diabetes is found in the Ebers papyrus (1500 B.C.), which includes directions for several mixtures that could “remove the urine, which runs too often.”
• The name “diabetes” is attributed to the famed Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia who practiced in the first century A.D. He believed that diabetes was caused by snakebite.
• William Cullen (1710-1790), a professor of chemistry and medicine in Scotland, is responsible for adding the term “mellitus” (“sweet” or “honey-like”) to the word diabetes.
• Insulin was coined from the Latin insula (“island”) because the hormone is secreted by the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas.
Oskar Minkowski was the first to link diabetes to the pancreas
• In 1889, Oskar Minkowski (1858-191931) discovered the link between diabetes and the pancreas (pan – “all” + kreas – “flesh) when a dog from which he removed the pancreas developed diabetes. • Before the discovery of insulin, surgeons rarely operated on diabetic patients with gangrene because the patients typically would not heal and would inevitably die. On occasion, an area of gangrene would “auto-amputate,” meaning it would dry up and fall off. • Before the discovery of insulin in 1921, physicians would often put their patients on starvation or semi-starvation diets, recommending they eat only foods such as oatmeal. • In 1996, a 16-year-old girl with diabetes died at her home in Altoona, Pennsylvania, because her parents refused to provide her with medicine and relied on prayer instead. Her parents were charged with manslaughter. • Some researchers have found links between the onset of Type 1 diabetes and the contracting of a virus, especially the mumps or Coxsacki virus. • African-Americans and Hispanics have a much higher rate of Type 2 diabetes than whites. There are 74 cases per 1,000 for African-Americans, 61 cases for Hispanics, and 36 cases for whites. • The death rate among African-Americans with diabetes is 27% higher than among whites with diabetes. Reasons include hereditary, socio-economic issues, higher obesity rates, and lack of available health insurance or insurance coverage. • Some studies have indicated that individuals with diabetes are at much greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia than are non-diabetics, though the reasons are unknown. • There are approximately 86,000 lower-limb amputations on diabetics in the United States each year. Rates of amputation were higher among men than women and higher among African-Americans than whites. Experts believe nearly half of all amputations could have been prevented with appropriate examinations and education. Obesity has led to a dramatic increase in type 2 diabetes
• Approximately 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are obese. • Diabetes has been reported in horses, ferrets, and ground squirrels. In environments where animals are liberally fed, diabetes has been reported in dolphins, foxes, and even a hippopotamus. • Diabetes is the main cause of blindness in individuals aged 20-74 in the United States. Experts emphasize that early detection and treatment could prevent up to 90% of cases of blindness that are related to diabetes. • Though heart disease has dropped among non-diabetic women by 27%, it has actually increased by 23% for women with diabetes. • Well known people with diabetes include Mary Tyler Moore, Jerry Mathers (Leave it to Beaver), and Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead. The late Carroll O’Conner from the TV show All in the Family had diabetes and had his toe amputated in 2000. • Olympic swimmer Gary Hall Jr. has Type 1 diabetes. When he was diagnosed, his physician told him to give up swimming. He changed doctors, continued training, and subsequently won a gold medal. • White children have a greater risk of developing Type 1 diabetes than children of other races, though the incidence of the disease varies greatly from country to country. Risk factors include being ill in early infancy, having an older mother, having a mother with Type 1 diabetes, having a mother who had preeclampsia during pregnancy, and having a high birth weight.
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