Diabetes: From Ancient Egypt to Modern Pandemic
Diabetes is not a new disease, being first documented in 1550BC in Egypt. Back then diabetes, or what the historians believe was diabetes, was described as a rare disease. According to an exhibition on diabetes and endocrinology by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (Scotland), an Egyptian manuscript mentions “the passing of too much urine”, which historians take as the first reference to diabetes.
We had to wait a further 1600 years for a complete clinical description and name for the condition, when the Greek physician Aretaeus used the word diabetes (from the Greek meaning ‘siphon’) and noted “the excessive amount of urine which passed through the kidneys”.
The condition may have been rare 3,500 years ago, but it is not anymore. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes affects over 220 million people globally and the consequences of high blood sugar kill 3.4 million every year. If such statistics weren’t scary enough, the WHO is predicting deaths to double between 2005 and 2030.
The total costs associated with the condition in the US alone are thought to be as much as $174 billion, with $116 billion being direct costs from medication, according to 2005-2007 American Diabetes Association figures.
Health-e-Solutions comment: By practicing a diabetic-alkaline lifestyle, it may be possible to avoid the high costs associated with taking medications. Insulin, test strips, glucose meters, doctors’ visits; they all add up to 1,000’s of dollars per year. I think a little extra each month spent on healthy, fresh, organic food is well worth the potential savings in health care and quality of life. As Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine once said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”