Monday, January 5, 2009

Where Did the Word DIABETES Come From?

What does the word diabetes mean? Lately, several of the young ones in the T1 community have wondered why their condition has the word ‘die’ at the beginning. No Sugar wanted to know that also, so we set out to investigate. Ironically, our blog turned out to be appropriately named: Naturally SWEET, No Sugar Needed.

The term Diabetes Metillus has its origins in the Greek language. Diabetes means to ‘siphon’ and Metillus means ‘honey or sweet’. It was given this name because of the amount of urine a diabetic will pass when blood sugars are elevated and because of the strong sweet smell of that urine; in other words ‘sweet urine’. (Well you asked).

So the good news is the term has NOTHING to do with dying in any way. As parents of T1’s and T1’s personally know, this illness is scary enough and has enough to do with life and death that we don’t actually need to the term itself being named after death.

I also wanted to share a couple other facts with you. Insulin was discovered in 1922 on accident – which is usually the way wonderful things happen. The names of the scientists who discovered it are Banting and Best. They discovered that this special chemical or hormone can help replace the natural hormone the pancreas (from the Greek, meaning 'all flesh') is no longer producing. It is not a cure, but it is life support. This type of research is called Endocrinology; and that is a term we are all too familiar with and thankful for. Incidentally, the term ‘insulin’ is Latin and means ‘island’; it’s given this name because of the way the cells in a pancreas appear.

So now we know….


All 4 My Gals said...

Very interesting! Em will be glad to know. :)