Prior to Frederick Banting’s discovery of the modern day’s Insulin, diabetes was a feared and deadly disease that most certainly meant premature death. Diabetes has been around for thousands of years; even though doctors were able to diagnose it, they had no control over it and had no way of treating it. Years ago, patients with diabetes were put on very strict diets which were successful in buying them a few extra years, but it never cured them. On occasion, the diet would cause the patients to die of starvation. However, following the great discovery of Insulin in 1921, people with diabetes can now live long and happy lives without any dietary restrictions.
Diabetes can be dated back thousands of years. One of the early physicians to write about the disease was Aretaeus the Cappadocian in the second century A.D., when he called it “the mysterious illness” (Albrecht 397). According to The Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Aretaeus was “one of the most celebrated of the Ancient Greek physicians” (Smith 277). In his writings, he explains diabetes with great detail and accuracy but he never writes anything about possible cures. He explains the disease as, “a melting down of the flesh and limbs into urine” (Albrecht 397).
Michael Bliss, in his book Discovery of Insulin, illustrates the experimentation that went on prior to the discovery in 1921. The first discovery happened when the early doctors noticed that the urine of diabetics was sweet and packed with sugar ; this caused diabetes to receive the nicknames the sugar disease and the sugar sickness. Following that, physicians realized that diabetes was the “body 's failure to be able to burn much of the simple glucose made ...
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...,” by the Greek physician Aretaeus. Over the years, many generations of scientists and doctors have contributed their knowledge to the search for a cure. “The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921-22 was one of the most dramatic events in the history of the treatment of disease,” claims Bliss (11). Even though insulin is not technically a cure for diabetes, it still stands as one of the greatest breakthroughs in medicine. The discovery of insulin came like a miracle. Severe diabetics that were on the brink of death, were saved. Additionally, as long as any diabetic continually received their insulin treatments, they were able to live long and happy lives. As quoted from the Canadian Encyclopedia, “With the discovery of insulin, the primary question of diabetes became one of the quality of life, not the speed of death” (The Discovery of Insulin).
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