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From, USA:

I just read about the 99 year old woman from South Wales who is thought to be the oldest living survivor of diabetes. The article states that it is especially remarkable since when she was first diagnosed insulin was not available in South Wales and she was thought to cope with diabetes through diet management alone. Can you give me some more information on the history of treatment for diabetes?


Most likely this is a person with some residual insulin production for all these years. There are clearly historical records of such patients who either make a small amount of insulin, and therefore can survive without insulin injections -- or before insulin was available. There are also others who just do not have glucose do the same type of damage as in most patients.

This lady was very lucky, probably took good care of herself for a long time and survived to a nice, old age.


[Editor's comment: There's an excellent book, The Discovery of Insulin, by Dr. Michael Bliss, that discusses some of the issues about how diabetes was managed before insulin. It was with very stringent diets, that actually resulted in slow starvation. WWQ]

Original posting 23 Jul 2001
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