Sunday, December 4, 2011

1940s Housewife....or No?

Lately I've been thinking about how interesting it would be to live in the 1930s or 40s as a housewife. I just want to see what it's like to live in a simpler time.

Then, I thought about my the heck would i manage it back then??? My father grew up in the 1950s and has told me many stories about his aunt. She had type 1 diabetes and the way she managed it sounds absolutely horrific...even in the 1950s and 60s! This made me want to do a little research on managing diabetes in the 1930s and 40s.

According to my research, my doctors would not know that I am a type 1 diabetic because the two types were not distinguished until 1936. Although, I would have insulin! Yay!....BUT I would probably be reusing and boiling needles...OUCH. I would also be able to manage my diabetes, to some extent, through dietary interventions....the dietary exchange system!I was surprised to learn that this has been around for so long.

Today, I test my blood glucose at least ten times a the 1930s and 40s I would not have this privilege. The first glucometer was not introduced for use in a doctor's office until 1970. Accu-Check developed the first self-blood glucose monitor in 1983. This means I would most likely be using "dip and read" tests, monitoring my blood glucose levels through my urine. I currently only do this when my blood glucose has been over 250mg/dL for an extended period of time to test for ketones. I would hate to rely on it for daily monitoring!

One of the reasons I enjoy seeing my endocrinologist every three months is because I get to have my HbA1c tested. This gives me a nice "big picture" of my overall blood glucose for the past three months. If I was a 1930s or 40s housewife...I would not have this opportunity. The HbA1c test was not introduced until 1976.

Overall, I can say.....diabetes was not fun in the 1930s and 40s and I would definitely not enjoy managing it during that period! Thank goodness for science is all I have to say. I am so thankful for my tiny glucometers, my lovely insulin pump, my new continuous glucose monitor, single-use (tiny gauge) syringes.....pretty much every aspect of my current regimen......I AM SO THANKFUL. Of course there's always room for improvement...I would love for a nice artificial pancreas or cure sometime in the future...but until then...thank you to all the researchers who have contributed to the field of diabetes research!!

After insulin was introduced for commercial use in the 1920s...this is one of the injection kits that was available.

This was the first glucometer developed by Ames....HUGE.


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