Diabetes mellitus is known to the human beings many years ago mainly from prehistoric times. In earlier day, a clinical diagnosis of diabetes was an invariable death sentence, more or less quickly. Even non-progressing type 2 diabetes was left undiagnosed. But with the discovery of insulin, its treatment is made possible. Diabetes was first identified by Egyptians about 3500 years ago. It has been explained in the medical books of the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, Indian, Rome and China. In the ancient books it has been mentioned that the disease is associated with polyuria, ploydipsia, etc. A Roman citizen has described diabetes as a melting down of the flesh and limbs into urine. Moreover, the Charaka and Sushruta, well known Ayurvedic physicians, described that the diabetic patients’ passes sweet urine in large amount that is rain of honey.

So they have named Diabetes mellitus as “Madhumeha”. Thereafter, we can say-diabetes has been recognized since antiquity, and its treatments were known since the middle ages. But the etiopathogensis of diabetes occurred mainly in the 20 th century. The ancient Chinese have tested for diabetes by observing whether ants were attracted to a person’s urine or not. Medieval European doctors have tested for diabetes, by testing the urine of diabetic patients themselves, a scene occasionally depicted in Gothic relief, and they named it “sweet urine disease”.


Diabetes mellitus occurs throughout the world, but is more common in the more developed countries. There is increase in incidence of diabetes in developing countries because of changing life style and the termed of urbanization. According to World Health Organization, more than 150 million people wide, in the year 2004. But due to its growing incidences, it is thought that by the year 2025 this number will double. Asia and Africa are the most commonly affected areas. Diabetes is considered as a big killer and is among the top 5, of the most significant diseases in the developed world. In 2005 there are about 20.8 million people with diabetes in the United States alone. While an estimated 14.6 millions have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately 6.2 million people were unaware that they have the disease.

In India, too diabetes is a major health haggard. It is the seventh leading cause of death. In order to known about the incidence of diabetes in the country, several surveys have been conducted by various agencies at different times. It has been estimated that near about 25 million people suffer from diabetes and 90% of these people are above forty years of age. But the incidences of diabetes are increasing with every new day (down) and this number will be for ahead of China, which is considered at second rank.

The incidence of diabetes increases with Age, so only 0.2 percent of children are affected while eight to ten percent of elderly people are affected. Diabetes is more common in non-vegetarians than vegetarians. Diabetes is prevalent not only in the urban areas, but the people in rural area, are also affected. Although, the urbanized population is much more influenced than rural communities.