What is the history of diabetes?
The word “diabetes” is borrowed from the Greek word meaning “a siphon.” The 2nd-century A.D. Greek physician, Aretus the Cappadocian, named the condition “diabetes.” He explained that patients with it had polyuria and “passed water like a siphon.” When “diabetes” is used alone, it refers to diabetes mellitus. The three main types of diabetes mellitus — type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes — are distinct and different diseases in and of themselves. Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus share the name “diabetes” because they are both conditions characterized by excessive urination (polyuria) (Medicinenet, 2006).
Is there anyone that I know who has diabetes? Can people with diabetes still lead a productive life?
A lot of ordinary people, as well as famous people have diabetes. Many of them function very well with diabetes. Do you recognize the names of any of the famous people, below:
- Halle Berry – Oscar Winning Actress
- Gary Hall — Olympic gold Medalist (swimming)
- Bret Michaels — Lead singer (Rock Band –Poison)
- Damon Dash — Cofounder of Roca fella and Roca Wear (with Jay-Z)
- Mary Tyler Moore
- Anwar Sadat
- Mikail Gorbachev
- Patti LaBelle
- Tommy Lee — Drummer Motley Crue
- Kendall Simmons – Football Player with the Pittsburg Steelers
Are there also people whose lives were cut short by diabetes?
Consider the precious people we have lost due to complications from diabetes, below:
- Paul Winfield – Actor
- Luther Vandross — Singer
- Neil Carter — Actress
- Ella Fitzgerald — Singer
- Ester Rolle — Actress
How do I know if I should be tested to see if I have diabetes? What are some of the risk factors for developing diabetes?
A person should be tested if they are found to have any of the following risk factors? (Which ones apply to you?)
- 45 years of age or older
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- A family history of diabetes
- A history of gestational diabetes
- A history of giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 lbs at birth
- Being of African American, Native American, or Hispanic heritage
Other risk factors include being pregnant and a woman of color. Diabetes is about 2-4 times higher among women of color. Complications from diabetes in these minority communities depend on factors such as diet, access to health care, and lifestyle (e.g. eating, exercise, and smoking habits, etc…).
If a person has any of these risk factors, they should be tested. Do you have any of these risk factors? Do you need to get tested?
What can I expect to find out if I go for testing for diabetes?
A person may be told that their test results were normal, or they have pre-diabetes (at risk for diabetes), already have diabetes, or have gestational diabetes (if a pregnant woman).