My 7 year old is working on a 100 year project for school, so this morning we googled “100 year old inventions” and I realized that 90 years ago today insulin was used to treat patients with type 1 diabetes. (Unfortunately I can’t use that for his project, we’re off by 10 years and he’d rather do a report on the sinking of the Titanic), but nonetheless, it got me thinking how much has changed in 90 years. Most of the time I’m full of complaints about what hasn’t changed when it comes to diabetes and I roll my eyes when people talk about a cure. But when I reread the stories of what life was like for people with my disease a century ago, it stops me in my tracks.
Thanks to scientists Banting and Best the discovery of insulin took people who were on the verge of death back to the land of the living. Here is a young girl before insulin, and again, approx. 4 months after.
People with diabetes like to celebrate all kinds of unusual anniversaries (date of diagnosis for example), so lets use the rest of this day or even the rest of the week to be thankful for the discovery of insulin. There is still a very long way to go, but look how far we’ve come.
ps. I want to correct a very misleading error in the the guardian story that says:
“But perhaps the starkest statistic is that while most people with diabetes do have long and healthy lives, type 1 diabetes reduces life expectancy by an average of 20 years, while type 2 reduces it by an average of 10 years. This does not sound to me like a problem that has been solved.”
The truth is that advances in diabetes care have nearly eliminated the difference in life expectancy between people with type 1 diabetes and the general population, according to new research.
“The gap between life expectancy for people with type 1 diabetes (diagnosed between 1965 and 1980) and the general U.S. population is now just four years, according to the study.” USA Today.
And don’t let any body tell you any different! Happy Insulin Anniversary.