50 Unknown Interesting Facts About Diabetes

Interesting Facts About Diabetes

November 10th, 2017   |   Updated on April 2nd, 2024

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

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Sometimes people call diabetes “a touch of sugar” or “borderline diabetes.” These terms suggest that someone doesn’t really have diabetes or has a less serious case, but every case of diabetes is serious.

Here will reveal 50 interesting facts about diabetes mellitus that you might have never heard about.

1. The word “diabetes” is Greek for “siphon,” which refers to the copious urine of uncontrolled diabetes. “Mellitus” is Latin for “honey” or “sweet,” a name added when physicians discovered that the urine from people with diabetes is sweet with glucose.


2. The earliest recorded mention of a disease that can be recognized as diabetes is found in the Ebers papyrus (1500 B.C.), which includes directions for several mixtures that could “remove the urine, which runs too often.

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3. The name “diabetes” is attributed to the famed Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia who practiced in the first century A.D. He believed that diabetes was caused by snakebite.


4. William Cullen (1710-1790), a professor of chemistry and medicine in Scotland, is responsible for adding the term “mellitus” (“sweet” or “honey-like”) to the word diabetes.


5. Before the discovery of insulin, surgeons rarely operated on diabetic patients with gangrene because the patients typically would not heal and would inevitably die. On occasion, an area of gangrene would “auto-amputate,” meaning it would dry up and fall off.


6. Before the discovery of insulin in 1921, physicians would often put their patients on starvation or semi-starvation diets, recommending they eat only foods such as oatmeal.


7. In 1996, a 16-year-old girl with diabetes died at her home in Altoona, Pennsylvania, because her parents refused to provide her with medicine and relied on prayer instead. Her parents were charged with manslaughter.


8. African-Americans and Hispanics have a much higher rate of Type 2 diabetes than whites. There are 74 cases per 1,000 for African-Americans, 61 cases for Hispanics, and 36 cases for whites.


9. The death rate among African-Americans with diabetes is 27% higher than among whites with diabetes. Reasons include hereditary, socio-economic issues, higher obesity rates, and lack of available health insurance or insurance coverage.

8. Some researchers have found links between the onset of Type 1 diabetes and the contracting of a virus, especially the mumps or Coxsacki virus.


9. Some studies have indicated that individuals with diabetes are at much greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia than are non-diabetics, though the reasons are unknown.

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10. There are approximately 86,000 lower-limb amputations on diabetics in the United States each year. Rates of amputation were higher among men than women and higher among African-Americans than whites. Experts believe nearly half of all amputations could have been prevented with appropriate examinations and education.


11. Approximately 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are obese.


12. Diabetes has been reported in horses, ferrets, and ground squirrels. In environments where animals are liberally fed, diabetes has been reported in dolphins, foxes, and even a hippopotamus.


13. Diabetes is the main cause of blindness in individuals aged 20-74 in the United States. Experts emphasize that early detection and treatment could prevent up to 90% of cases of blindness that are related to diabetes.


14. United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Nauru, Bahrain, and Kuwait are the countries with the highest percentage of people suffering from diabetes.


15. Diabetes mellitus takes the sixth place in the list of death causes in the USA according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


16. United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Nauru, Bahrain, and Kuwait are the countries with the highest percentage of people suffering from diabetes. More than one million amputations annually are caused by diabetes.

17. 35 million diabetic patients live in India. This number is expected to increase up to 70 million by 2025, which will make one fifth of all people with diabetes in the world.


18. Every 10 seconds someone dies from causes related to diabetes. Diabetes kills 3.5 million people in the world every year.

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19. According to the World Health Organization, the disease rates have reached the level of epidemic. 80% of all new cases of diabetes are predicted to occur in the developing countries by 2025.


20. At the moment, approximately 12 million men and 11.5 million women in the USA have diabetes mellitus.


21. 44% of all kidney failure cases are caused by diabetes.


22. For each 500 US residents with Type 1 diabetes mellitus there is only one donor pancreas.


23. 80% of deaths among diabetic patients are caused by blocked blood vessels and deadened nerves.


24. Each two hours spent in front of TV increase the risk of developing diabetes.


25. Today, insulin used by diabetic patients is made in laboratories from bacteria and yeast. 90 years ago, people with diabetes had to use bovine and porcine insulin.


26. The cost of diabetes in the US makes 200 billion dollars each year. This includes direct costs like hospitalization, amputations, and insulin, as well as indirect costs caused by disability, loss of productivity and retirement of diabetic patients.

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28. Breastfeeding a baby for three months and more decreases the risk of Type 1 diabetes in childhood and obesity in adulthood.


29. If you have pancreatitis, fibrosis, haemochromatosis, or Cushing’s syndrome, you run an increased risk of developing diabetes.


30. About 10% of all people suffering from diabetes live in the United States.


31. According to statistics, percentage of diabetes cases among US military veterans is almost three times higher than in general population.

32. Diabetes increases the risk of flu/pneumonia complications. Up to 30 thousand people with diabetes die from flu and pneumonia each year.


33. In the XXIst century, injected insulin may be replaced with inhaled or oral insulin.


34. Diabetes increases the risk of gingivitis, which often leads to tooth loss.


35. Inherited genetic syndromes like myotonic syndrome or Down’s syndrome increase the risk of developing diabetes mellitus.

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36. Diabetes increases the risk of erectile dysfunction. Besides, this problem occurs in diabetic patients 10-15 years earlier than in healthy men.


37. Adolescent girls with Type 1 diabetes mellitus are at higher risk of developing various eating disorders.


38. White children develop Type 1 diabetes more often than children of other races.


39. Diabetes-caused amputations in men are registered more often than in women. Besides, such amputations rates are higher in African-American diabetics than in the whites. Annually, 86 thousand amputations of the lower limb are carried out in diabetic patients.


40. The word insulin comes from the Latin word insula, which means island. This is because this hormone is produced by the ?-cells on the Islets of Langerhans in pancreas.


41. Individuals with an “apple” body shape are at greater risk for diabetes than are those with “pear” body shapes.


42. Diabetics have a higher risk of gingivitis than non-diabetics, which may lead to bone and tooth loss. However, only about half of Hispanics with diabetes regularly visit a dentist compared to 58% of African-Americans and 70% of non-Hispanic whites with diabetes.

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43. Overweight individuals are more prone to develop diabetes because more fat requires more insulin, fat cells release free fatty acids which interfere with glucose metabolism, and overweight people have fewer available insulin receptors.


44. Gestational diabetes occurs in about 200,000 or 7% of U.S. pregnancies annually.


45. The human body is equipped with 60,000 miles of blood vessels and wired with 100,000 miles of nerve fibers. Diabetes often blocks the cardiovascular system and deadens nerves, causing 80% of deaths among patients with diabetes.


46. In women, diabetes impacts estrogen levels, menstrual and ovulation cycles, and sexual desire.


47. Researchers found that every two hours spent watching television was associated with a 14% increase in diabetes risk.


48. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of new cases in 2005.


49. A Harvard study showed that eating one serving of cooked oatmeal two to four times a week was linked to a 16% reduction in the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. One serving five or six times a week was linked to a 39% reduction in risk.


50. Diabetes is responsible for over one million amputations each year, a large percentage of cataracts, and at least 5% of blindness worldwide.


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