Now that you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, what’s next? This is often a defining moment in about 90 million people’s lives throughout America. The doctor lets you know the you are pre-diabetic and diabetic, briefly summarizes the risks and makes recommendations for medication and suggests that you slow down on the sodas and starbucks’ coffee. Here at New Life, we believe that every diabetic should have access to actionable health intelligence or what we call affectionately disruptive knowledge.
We are going to begin a series of blog posts to give you access to disruptive knowledge regarding a disease that is taking over our country, workplaces, and world at large. Let’s start with the question, “Is Diabetes a New Disease?” According to historians, diabetes was first identified 2000 years ago by Aretaeus of Cappadocia, who was a Greek physician. Despite its discovery then, there was no progress towards any remedy or control for the disease until the 1800’s, when Paul Langerhans observed “described small islands (islets) in the pancreas.” Langerhans was clueless as to their true nature, and insight wouldn’t strike again for another 20 years until Oskar Minkowski observed a fundamental link between the pancreas and diabetes, when he removed a dog’s pancreas and noticed that the dog urinated frequently discovering sugar in the dog’s urine. (Definitely not humane, but we digress 😉
A Belgian scientist, Jean De Meyer, coined the term insulin to describe a “hypothetical substance in the pancreas that controls blood sugar,” even though insulin had not be discovered yet. It wasn’t until 1921, when researchers J.J.R. Macleod, Charles Best, Frederick Banting, & James Collip succeeded in purifying insulin and successfully treating a diabetic patient, in turn extending and saving countless live thereafter. While many can attribute extended time with loved ones through this scientific discovery, the reality of today’s diabetes epidemic requires newer and innovative approaches to treating a disease that is a gateway to so many others.