The first documented mention of diabetes dates back to 1500 B.C., appearing in Egyptian manuscripts as a disease with “too great emptying of urine,” a key indicator of this condition. 

It wasn’t until much later, though, that scientists identified various forms of the disease. Between 400 and 500 A.D., an Indian physician, Sushruta, and a surgeon, Charaka, identified the two types of diabetes. It wasn’t until later still that experts began to understand just what causes diabetes. In fact, it wasn’t until 1869 that doctorate candidate Paul Langerhans identified the cells that secrete insulin, a name which was coined between 1909 and 1910.

Modern testing methods followed a few decades later, with scientists in the 60s developing the first generation of blood sugar (blood glucose) meters. In 1981, marketers started advertising meters for home use. For the first time on a widespread scale, people in the United States could purchase their own blood glucose meters to test their levels within the comfort of their own home, a trend that significantly improved patient outcomes.

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