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It Might Be April Fools... But These Diabetes Supplies Are No Joke.

It Might Be April Fools... But These Diabetes Supplies Are No Joke.

I personally have never been one for April Fools’ pranks.

Maybe it stems from the time in 6th grade, when our science teacher tricked the class (but mostly just me) into thinking a Cheerio grew into a glazed donut hole while we were at lunch. I think I may still be subconsciously embarrassed about that one (It was a really elaborate April Fools prank, okay?) Regardless, today’s blog post is not here to fool you. Step into a time machine with us, as we take a trip to visit diabetes supplies’ past.

Before we do though, I want to take a moment to acknowledge just how far Genteel technology has come. Perfecting the vacuum feature was no easy feat. Founder and Chief Engineer, Dr. Christopher Jacobs tells stories of the first prototype being as large as a soda can! To learn more about Dr. Chris and his journey with Genteel, check out this Q&A we did on his birthday last year (starts at 4-min mark). All that extra space the size of a can was initially there to provide a vacuum seal. However, we were finally able to engineer something the size of a marker—perfect for little hands, and conveniently sized for adults. Genteel is now small enough to fit in a pocket, or any standard diabetes supply case. I understand it might be difficult to imagine a lancing device the size of a coke can--I couldn’t wrap my mind around it either. But not to worry, I did what any normal person would do. I grabbed a few Genteel devices, a soda can, and proceeded to have a photoshoot in my home office. As you can see below, it was about the size of three current Genteel devices put together (just in width alone!). I’d call that a huge improvement, no pun intended. P.S, If you’re wondering what the design is on the white Genteel pictured below, it’s the limited edition Peelz wrap we did with Dr. Natter last summer!
After we engineered the device for optimal vacuum and size, we took a closer look at the actual lancing process, made possible with the clear Genteel you see here. It was used during product development  with a high-speed camera, to show in great detail how the mechanism functions. When you use Genteel today, things happen so fast, that it all appears to take place at once. The sequence and timing of each step has to occur in the right order, and with precise timing. This project allowed us to watch the sequence, and adjust the timing with accuracy. Take a look at this video here to discover 2 little known reasons that a poke with Genteel is more comfortable than with a traditional lancing device. Now, let us hop back in time, and take a look at some diabetes managment tools throughout the centuries. We promise you; we’re not trolling.

Ancient Egypt 

The ancient Egyptians were the first to mention any symptoms of diabetes, shown in the papyrus above. Specifically, they noticed that ants were attracted to the urine of people thought to have diabetes. They were even able to make a distinction between two different kinds of diabetes, however the information was still far from accurate. In this era, diabetes was understood as a “melting of the flesh and limbs into the urine”. To treat ailments, a concoction of "Water from the Bird Pond, Elderberry, Fibres of the asit plant, Fresh Milk, Beer-Swill, Flower of the Cucumber, and Green Dates" was consumed. Urinary troubles in adults were also corrected with "rectal injections of olive oil, honey, sweet beer, sea salt, and seeds of the wonderfruit".

Ancient Greece

Greek physician Apollonius of Memphis mentioned the term “diabetes,” which was another one of its earliest mentions in human civilization. Early Greek physicians recommended treating diabetes with exercise on horseback. They believed that this activity would reduce the need for excessive urination. Additionally, a “nonirritating” milk-and-carb diet was also recommended. For example, milk with rice, and other starchy, gummy foods “to thicken the blood and supply salts”. A common theme here is that diet and natural resources have been a go-to for centuries to heal the body. Fortunately, we know a lot more about nutrition now. However, at this point, we still are still a few thousand years away from attaining accurate information.

Great Britain in the 1700s

In the 1700s and 1800s, physicians continued to try different dietary changes to help manage diabetes, and they advised their patients to do things like eat only the fat and meat of animals or, consume large amounts sugar. This was also during the industrialization of bacon, so there may have been an ulterior motive there.

San Diego in 1960

Leave it to the Seismic Sixties to make a breakthrough in glucose checks. At this point, researchers Frederick Banting and Charles Best had already learned that the pancreas was the root cause of the disease, after conducting a study in which the removal of a dog's pancreas led to the development of diabetes. The photo here is a prototype of the first pump that delivered glucagon as well as insulin. It was only a prototype to see if the idea of insulin pumping was feasible. Pumps like the one in the picture were not produced and sold but were part of the beginnings to the continuous glucose monitors we know today--A wonderful tool that has saved many lives. Even in 2021 though, CGMs can’t always be 100% accurate. Make sure to always have a comfortable way to do manual glucose checks in the case of sensor errors, warm ups, and other technological blunders that no one is immune to.

Lancers and Glucometers in 1985

The dynamic duo looked a little like this in the 80’s. In reference to the glucometer on the left, diabetes warrior David Taylor writes on the Smithsonian website, “I was fortunate to have been able to acquire this very unit in early 1985. After living with juvenile diabetes for more than twelve poorly managed years, I was finally able to properly monitor glucose levels and adjust insulin doses". The finger pricker to the right was actually found in our Facebook Community in a post giving appreciation to Genteel for making manual sugar checks so much easier. Poster Nina F. says,  “It was torture, the guts you had to build up to press that red button on the top to release the needle, that you then watched fire like a catapult into your finger.....” Yikes.

Flip phones in 2006

Behold the photo that inspired this entire blog post. One of our favorite diabetes artists, The Diabetic Survivor, features this awesome cell phone accessory that allows you to insert your test strip into a phone. We thought it was fake until we did further research. We can literally hear the Akon ringtone playing now, as we admire this gem. 

Today: 2021

Today, technology allows us to manage our diabetes in so many ways. With the internet, we have a plethora of information at our fingertips, as well as entire online communities to support us through the tough times. As consumers, we have never been as educated as we are now, and many have the luxury of choosing which route of diabetes management works best for their lifestyle. This is not at all to downplay the continuous work that needs be done to achieve true equality within the healthcare space. As time progresses, we pledge to do work that helps build upon the advancement of societal values. Speaking of which, we take them quite seriously here at Genteel. We hope you can appreciate that instead of trying to trick you today, we decided to inform you. It truly aligns with our core values as a company; Integrity, Quality and Curiosity. By that, we mean Integrity in our honesty and transparency, Quality in the standards for the products we produce, and Curiosity for the questions, knowledge and experiences that drive our future. Happy April Fools from the Genteel family, to yours :)


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