Frederick Banting was a Canadian surgeon who dedicated his life to the field of medicine. His devotion to medicine was kindled by the loss of his closest friend to type 1 Diabetes. One of the deadliest diseases of the time. His contributions were recognized with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1923. In 1920, Along with his colleagues CH Best and John Macleod, Banting began his journey to engrave his name in the history of medicine.
The alliance found success in November of the following year. When their extracts proved to have an effect in reducing blood sugar levels. They knew they were on to something big. However, clearance for human testing demanded further purification. They bought in a biochemist named James Collip to purify this extract. Their efforts proved true with the discovery of a life-saving drug that has no alternatives to date- Insulin.
Insulin was revolutionary at the time. It offered a chance to patients who had received a death warrant in the form of type 1 diabetes. Banting and Best set out to find methods of Mass producing this drug. In May 1922, a company named “Eli Lilly” became the first mass producer of Insulin and the rest is history. 14 November 2021 marks a hundred years since the discovery of Insulin. An unparalleled milestone in the history of Diabetic Care. We rightfully acknowledge the same date across the globe every year as world diabetic day to increase awareness about diabetic care.
“Access to diabetic care”
This year, the theme for world diabetic day is “access to diabetic care”. Even after 100 years since the first ray of hope, there are many who don’t receive adequate access to care. An apt theme for our times, wouldn’t you think? Insulin is regarded as a life-saving drug and made available at affordable prices. However, devices like glucometers and glucose sensors are just as important for monitoring blood sugar levels. And unfortunately, they do not enjoy the same consideration as Insulin in terms of affordability. Such regulations aid disparity and promote exclusivity in the care continuum.
The risk posed by diabetes is much more than the body’s inability to produce insulin and unregulated sugar levels. Diabetes is also notorious for gradually affecting the heart, blood vessels, kidneys etc. of its victims. Diabetic patients are at a constant fear of contracting kidney failure, blindness, diabetic foot ulcers, heart attacks and strokes. Hence, it is important to understand the term “diabetic care” in a holistic way. In order to ensure appropriate care and treatment for diabetic patients who are prone to risks that are not easily perceptible to the untrained eye. It is quintessential that we move beyond the call of duty and ensure that we inculcate a culture of preventive care in our homes, our families and our society.
For a better future
The discovery and mass production of Insulin is symbolic of granting a second chance at life to those afflicted by type 1 diabetes. But unfortunately, even today a new person develops diabetes every 5 seconds, a person dies from diabetes every 10 seconds and there is an amputation every 30 seconds for diabetic patients due to their vulnerability to wounds and ulcers. (Read our article “Wound Care Management for Diabetic patients” to learn more). These staggering figures scream only 1 irrefutable fact- We need to do more to ensure care for patients with Diabetes. As important as it is to realize there is a face behind each number and statistic we come across, it is more important to act towards building a more inclusive society where those around us receive the care they deserve. Let us strengthen our resolve and pledge our allegiance to this cause.
– Haanie Bilal