Diabetes has been one of the most devastating diseases known to man, and it has been recognized for over two thousand years, but there is no history of type 2 diabetes, or any other differentiation between different types of diabetes, until the twentieth century. It was not until 1935 that it was discovered that there were multiple types of diabetes, and it could be said that this is where the history of type 2 diabetes truly began.
Roger Hinsworth made the remarkable discovery in 1935 that there were, in fact, two different types of diabetes. Those which were sensitive to insulin (Type 1), and those that were not (Type 2). This breakthrough was finally made possible by the relatively recent discovery of insulin in 1921, and presumably came about when doctors noticed that insulin injections were having less of an effect on some diabetes patients. In the 1950's, a new medication was developed that is considered to be the beginnings of the history of type 2 diabetes treatments. Before now, there was no history of type 2 diabetes treatment whatsoever, so those with type 2 had to make due with simply using more insulin in hopes that their cells would absorb enough.
From then on, type 2 diabetes history pretty much ran alongside that of type 1. Urine strips were introduced in the 1960s, making it easier than any other time in the history of type 2 diabetes to detect the amount of insulin in the body. This made it far simpler for people to manage their diabetes. In 1961, one time use syringes were introduced to the market, eliminating the need for the thick, durable early syringes that were had to be boiled to be cleaned, sharpened regularly, and were prone to developing painful barbs.
Ames Diagnostics created portable glucose meters in 1969 as a method to determine if an unconscious patient was diabetic or just drunk. Although these original meters weighed around three pounds, more recent technologies have reduced the size to that of a hand held calculator.
Insulin pumps, designed to mimic the natural insulin production of the human body, were created in the late 70's, and were initially carried by patients as a backpack type setup. Technology has impacted these as well, and they are now small enough to clip onto a belt or pocket. Much more recently, oral medications have been released that do the job of insulin pumps, making it so that many diabetics merely have to take a pill to control their insulin.
With so much recent advancement, it seems that it may not be too long before type 2 diabetes history comes to a close.