Researchers, doctors, and people with diabetes agree that injected insulin works well for managing the disease. They will also likely say that delivering insulin through something other than a needle would be even better. The best option -- insulin in a pill -- is not feasible because the insulin would be destroyed by stomach acids.
Does the light touch of a bed sheet make your feet burn? Does your heart sometimes race when you’re resting? Do you have problems with sexual arousal?
As different as these symptoms are, they can all have the same cause: diabetic nerve damage, also known as diabetic neuropathy. About half of people with diabetes develop nerve damage. The two most common forms are:
peripheral neuropathy, which affects the nerves that serve the farthest reaches of the body, such as the legs and hands;
Inhaled insulin is another option that’s been considered. Although it’s possible to make inhaled insulin, there are no inhaled insulin drugs on the market.
How Inhaled Insulin Works
The idea of inhaling insulin has been around for decades. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that researchers made it possible. First, insulin is made into a powder form. Insulin particles are delivered through an inhaler much like the type used by people with asthma. The powder is then inhaled into the lungs and enters the bloodstream through tiny blood vessels.
Inhaled Insulin and Exubera
The FDA approved the first inhaled insulin, called Exubera, in September 2006. People who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes could use Exubera.
The drug’s maker, Pfizer, took Exubera off the market in October 2007 for financial reasons. The drug was expensive and didn’t seem to catch on with patients. In 2008, the FDA also expressed concern that Exubera could be linked to lung toxicities and lung cancer.
The Future of Inhaled Insulin
The withdrawal of Exubera from the U.S. market hasn’t ended the quest for inhaled insulin. There are other versions of the drug and inhalers currently in development for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
One is Afrezza, made by California-based MannKind Corporation. Afrezza is pre-metered ultra rapid acting mealtime insulin. The drug is designed for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, the FDA declined to approve Afrezza in early 2011 and asked the makers to provide more study data.
Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!
Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Thank you for signing up for the WebMD Diabetes Newsletter!
You'll find tips and tricks as well as the latest news and research on Diabetes.
Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?
Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.