What Do You Remember About Duabetes Care In Earlier Times?

By MAYS Latest Reply 2012-07-21 18:04:50 -0500
Started 2012-07-20 17:12:53 -0500

This is a discussion for anyone who has been a diabetic for quite some time.

No I am not trying to find out your age.
(My birth was recorded on the walls of a cave in blood)

What I would like to know from anyone is this, how has diabetes care changed since you were diagnosed with diabetes?


What did you have to do then, that is different now?

How did you test your glucose level before there were blood glucose meters?
What type of diet did you have?
How often did you take insulin infections?
Were you physically active, or were you discouraged from being so?

Any information given will be helpful, I would rather get a feel for diabetes care that was different from that of today from those who remember it, rather than from a book or the internet.


3 replies

Type1Lou 2012-07-21 10:22:13 -0500 Report

Dear Mays, While not technically MY experience, I grew up with a Dad who developed his diabetes when I was about 4 years old, in the early 1950's. He was in his early 60's at that time and was put immediately on U40 Protomine Zinc insulin. There were no disposable syringes. He gave himself a shot every morning with this "huge" needle and would have to sharpen it when it got dull. No BG meters back the either; he would test his urine every morning (I seem to remember his boiling it in a test tube and then gauging the color to determine how good or bad his control was.) The only artificial sweetener available was saccharine which you couldn't cook with because heat turned it bitter. There were very few low sugar food options in the market. There were no A1c's because I remember him watching his diet very strictly before he went to have blood drawn so he'd get better results. He died at age 81 in the early 1970's…likely of cardiac complications from his diabetes.

Because he'd always had literature around the house about the symptoms of diabetes, I'd pretty much suspected what I had when, in 1976, excessive thirst would wake me up every 5 minutes to void my bladder and I lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks, dropping from 117 pounds to 107. After a Glucose Tolerance Test, my diabetes was confirmed and I started on shots of NPH insulin. By then, there were disposable syringes but no insulin pens. I don't recall when I got my first meter but now couldn't live without one. Through the years, I went from one NPH shot to two and later to MDI of Lantus and Novolog pens (which I loved for the freedom it gave me to eat when I wanted to rather than be tied to the clock.) Started on a pump last year because my control was slipping and I was experiencing too many dangerously low BG's. I'm grateful for the tools and technology available to me today to help me manage my diabetes. I have it LOTS easier than Dad did!

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-07-20 18:22:27 -0500 Report

Had to pee on test strips to check your bg level, yuk! Do to that I had to eat very carefully and pretty much stick to the same routine. Veggies, fruit and lean meats. The needles were big and hurt! Also didn't have the different insulins to choose from:(

I had to watch the saturated fats, sugars, portion sizes, etc.. I had to have several shots a day because of the way I reacted to the insulin then. Lots of dr appointments.

I was extremely active, a gymnist, runner and dancer and when not training I could be found riding my bike every where and playing any ball sport I could fit in. I was always encouraged to do whatever I wanted to do, but make sure I kept track of my diabetes. I won't lie, there were a few hairy times and of course at the most inconvenient times.

We didn't have insulin pumps or glucose meters yet so things had to be done differently. Thankfully medicine has advanced and it is now soo much easier to be a diabetic, in fact no reason not to be under control as long as it is taken seriously. We have better meds, supplies and technology as well as tons of info about it and nutritional facts for everything we eat, and the ease at getting any food/snack that we want. We have the different professionals to help as well. The hard part is committing to the lifestyle changes and putting in the daily work.

Next Discussion: Diabetic Retinopathy »