A long time ago, before our time, there was a sickness called diabetes. Not contagious, but yet hereditary and in some cases caused by excessive sugar consumption. Then, before 1922, this sickness was incurable but now it has been tamed. Yes I said “tamed”, and it has been tamed by a little 3 syllable word called insulin. It has come along way from what it was when it was first used and it changed life as we know it. Its impact on life will last forever and a lifetime. I know for a fact that if I ever cross the sickness that requires insulin, I would be the most grateful for the people who made it.
Insulin (originated from insula, a Latin word for island) is the internal secretion of the pancreas formed by the groups of cells called the islets of Langerhans which was discovered by a medical student in 1869 (Allen). This hormone is needed to enable glucose to enter the cells and provide energy. On the path to diabetes curing, in 1889, Oscar Minkowski took a dog’s pancreas out and days later, flies started to fest on its urine. Come to find out, there was sugar in the dog’s urine (Enerson). The discovery of this was amazing. Fast forward a decade or three, in 1922, Frederick Banting and Charles Best made the best discovery using insulin. During this time, preparations of insulin were taken from pigs and cattle (Allen). It was extracted from pancreas tissues crudely. Sadly, the pigs and cattle did not get out of this happy. Now it is made by genetic engineering which is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome using biotechnology. So no one or nothing is being endangered (Allen). Lucky pigs!
Before insulin was discovered, life was tragic for people with diabetes. Most of them, if not all, died. Some were even born with diabetes, giving them no chance at even seeing what life was because children with diagnosed with diabetes died within a year. There was no medicine to cue the patients with diabetes. Patients were put on very strict diets because doctors knew how deadly sugar could be to a diabetic patient. This diet was also known as the starvation diet. They starved themselves to stay alive. This treatment only gave them a few more years of life but it never saved them. So eventually, they would die off making the diet unnecessary. The children that had diabetes rarely lived a year of diagnostics. Patients with untreated diabetes not only faced death, they faced blindness, lose of limbs, kidney failure, strokes, and heart attacks. Today, people with diabetes can still die especially if they aren’t taking care of themselves. A specific thing they can die from is called ketoacidosis (Pollak). This is cause by not having enough or no insulin in one’s body.
Since insulin is made naturally in one’s body, the only way it could be limited is if a person doesn’t have enough or any insulin in their body at all. So natural resources such as water, air, oil, and wood could never affect insulin. If they could, I would have no way to explain it....