Monday, September 10, 2012

The name of diabetes

The modern medical name for diabetes is diabetes mellitus.

The first reference of diabetes was written in Ebers Papyrus by Egyptians physicians during 1500 BC.

In very ancient times the Greeks knew this disease. Aretaeus of Cappadocia in 2nd century declared, ‘Diabetes is a mysterious illness … where the flesh and limbs melt into urine’.

Doctors in ancient Greece and Rome named the disease. Fortunately, the way they tested for the condition – by tasting people’s urine. In this way, the Romans discovered that the urine of certain people was mellitus, the Latin word for sweet.

Diabetes means ‘passing through’ in Greek. The urine of people with diabetes contains sugar. It passes through the body quickly. The Greek noticed that when people with sweet urine drank, the fluids came out in the urine almost as fast as they went in the month.

In 1776, Mathew Dobson from England determined that the sweet-tasting substance in the urine of diabetic individuals is sugar.
The name of diabetes
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