Inhalable Insulin Gives Diabetics Options

By Libby Smith

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4)– For years, people living with diabetes have relied on insulin injections to control their blood sugar. Now an inhalable insulin is trying to gain traction in the market.

Afrezza has been on the market for a couple of years now. It’s a powder form of insulin that’s delivered into the body through an inhaler and absorbed through the lungs.

“It’s just as efficient as injecting it under the skin, and actually probably a little bit quicker,” said Dr. Leonard Zemel, an endocrinologist with Creekside Endocrine Associates.

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(credit: CBS)

Afrezza is a fast-acting insulin. Zemel said that’s it’s best used at mealtimes, and may need to be paired with a slower release form of insulin.

“With this insulin, you have to make sure the lungs are healthy enough to allow the absorption to take place,” Zemel told CBS4.

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(credit: CBS)

After years of professional skiing, Greg Straub has strong lungs. He also has diabetes. Managing the disease has been a struggle for him for the last 20 years.

“I was treating it with pills, and diet, and exercise, and I wasn’t very successful,” Straub told CBS4.

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Greg Straub at work (credit: CBS)

He was originally diagnosed with Type 2; but, recently Straub found out he’s more of a Type 1 diabetic and needs insulin.

“I have a fear of needles, and it’s a real struggle even for me to get my blood drawn quarterly,” Straub explained.

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(credit: CBS)

Most insulin is delivered by injection, either through a syringe or a pump. Neither was a viable option for Greg.

“So I can’t even hold a syringe in my hand to give myself insulin,” Straub said.

Straub takes Afrezza, which allows him to avoid needles and gives him the flexibility to be able manage his diabetes even when he’s on the slopes.

tour de cure Inhalable Insulin Gives Diabetics Options

2015 Tour de Cure (Credit CBS)

You can be a part of the fight to cure diabetes by supporting the American Diabetes Association. Tour de Cure is coming up in Colorado on Sept. 9. Now is the time to sign up and train for the walk, run, and ride event.

LINK: Tour de Cure 2017

Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.

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