Diabetes Before Insulin

     Diabetes, from the Greek word meaning "to pass through" or "pipe-like" has been claiming lives for thousands of years. A diabetic's body is unable to utilize food's nutrients as energy, causing extra sugar to collect in blood and urine (Bliss 20). Food simply "passes through" the body, without absorbing any nutrients.

Previous Treatments:

-Egyptians treated diabetes "with a combination of ground earth, water, bones, wheat, and lead" (Yuwiler 15)

-In the nineteenth century, physicians tried other common healing practices, such as bleeding, cupping or blistering patients.

-In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, "opium seemed to reduce the despair of dying [diabetic] patients" (Yuwiler 16)
Yuwiler 16
Eleventh century physician who searched for treatment. (Yuwiler 16)

Slim Chances

Yuwiler 22
Left: Starvation method. Right: Insulin treatment (Yuwiler 22)
     With no effective treatment aside from a semi-starvation diet, a diabetic's outlook appeared grim. Before 1922, diabetic children rarely lived a year after diagnosis, five percent of adults died within two years, and less than 20 percent lived more than ten (Berger 57). Untreated diabetics faced blindness, loss of limbs, kidney failure, stroke, heart attack and death (Yuwiler 12).