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Diabetes as told by, "Our Family Physician"-written in 1887

Updated: Mar 19

Yesterday, I came across the super old physician reference guide, “Our Family Physician”. You guys…this was written in 1887 and was actually used to treat common disease in the late 1800’s! Of course, I immediately looked up diabetes and was both impressed and fascinated. I thought I’d share…


Diabetes as told by “Our Family Physician”:


“This is a disease in which large quantities of urine are passed, sometimes amounting to several gallons in twenty-four hours.”


“Symptoms. –The appetite is voracious, and there is great thirst; dry skin; the digestion is imperfect; the gums swollen and inflamed; dry, parched mouth; waste of flesh; debility, pain and weakness in the loins; loss of sexual appetite; frequent attacks of dizziness and pain in the head; the urine contains a large amount of sugar, for which there are several tests.”


“Causes. —It may be caused by any means that derange the digestive functions; intemperate habits; great fatigue; constant use of acid drinks; use of Mercury; exposure to cold.”


Obviously, this description is extreme considering the fact that insulin was not even invented until the 1920’s, but I still feel like it holds up pretty well! Especially to those with prolonged uncontrol or who are withholding insulin for one reason or another.


Here is an excerpt of the recommended treatment…


“The patient should not be allowed to eat articles which contain sugar or starch, such as potatoes, beets, parsnips, and other vegetables.”


Obviously, we’ve modified the diet a bit, but…IM IMPRESSED.


See the pictures below for all of the treatment recommendations. It’s so interesting!




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