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Doctors of old test for diabetes by tasting the urine of their patients

Published Monday, May 16, 2005

Who would want to be a doctor in the old days? Well, someone had to be. In old times there were a lot of diseases around just as today. However, unlike in those days we have improved so much in science and technology (and knowledge) that most of these diseases can now be easily detected and taken care of. Most diseases now can be treated, treated and cure or they are totally eradicated by modern medicine. Unfortunately though, there are still some old diseases around today as well as, new diseases along with some being new strains. There are as a matter of fact, several types of diseases that are: caused by several reasons, spread in different ways (not all are capable of spreading) and function in different ways.

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus to be exact) is a condition caused by a lack, or an insufficiency of insulin in our blood. Insulin is a substance (hormone) that is made in the pancreas (an organ) found inside of our body. The pancreas is responsible to regulate the level of sugar (glucose) in our blood by releasing the hormone insulin. When there is too much sugar (high level of glucose) in our blood the pancreas releases the insulin which adjust the sugar in our blood. This is achieved by the insulin helping glucose getting into the cells and muscles of our bodies to produce energy ( to use as fuel ) or to be stored (if there is excess amount) as glycogen (glucose converts into this substance for storage) for future use in our muscles and liver.

On the other hand, if there is a problem with our pancreas that causes it to produce too little amount or no insulin at all then, our sugar level becomes high. This built up of sugar which becomes very high in our bloodstream is characterize as diabetes -- high blood sugar level. This will then cause the excess high level of sugar to escape through the kidneys which, then excrete into the urine. Due to this problem, it causes an increase amount of urine to be produced.

Hence, due to sugar being in the urine, the urine is literally sweet. The word "mellitus" means sweet, and before the days of sophisticated tests, tasting the urine of a patient was used to help make the diagnosis.

Today, doctors use dry reagent laboratory sticks for simple urine analysis or blood sugar estimation, in clinics, hospitals, private offices and even use by patients in the home. Thanks to the advance in medicine, doctors don't need to do any ‘tasting’ of urine as a way to diagnose this condition anymore !

So, would one want to be a doctor if this was the only diagnosis? I am sure a lot of doctors now today, wouldn’t venture in this field and it wouldn’t be a prestigious profession as it is today. Most likely you would be single.


For a comprehensive look on the history of diabetes
click here (PDF File)

For a very simple and quick look on the history of diabetes visit this site below:
Canadian Diabetes Association

For questions and useful information on diabetes, you can visit these sites listed below:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Diabetes Association
National Diabetes Education Program
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive and Kidney Disease

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