Inhaled Insulin - a lot of hot air!
Diabetes mellitus is a disease of glucose metabolism in which the blood sugar levels are abnormally high as the body is unable to produce enough insulin to meet its requirements. There are several types of diabetes mellitus, type 1 and type 2. Type 2 diabetes is non-insulin dependent and often demonstrates onset in adulthood. This type of diabetes is almost 10 times more prevalent in the United States, and is thought to be a life-style dependant disease with a strong genetic component, displaying an association with obesity and old age [Page 2006, Rang 2007]. Sufferers do not demonstrate a lack of insulin production; instead the problem appears to be linked to a loss of the signal for proper glucose uptake. The problem may lie with the insulin itself or in one of the proteins involved in glucose uptake and metabolism [Page 2006, Rang 2007].
Type 1 diabetes is insulin dependent and is often referred to as juvenile onset diabetes. In this disease the patient's immune system destroys pancreatic beta cells, the only cells in the body which produce the hormone insulin that regulates blood glucose. Diabetes is rapidly reaching epidemic proportions, affecting 150 million people worldwide and projected to double in prevalence by 2025. Since many cases go undiagnosed these figures are likely to be an underestimate of the true prevalence. Left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to coronary heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, limb amputations and premature death. Compliance with insulin therapy is important in preventing the adverse clinical effects of the disease [Page 2006, Rang 2007]
. Insulin, a polypeptide hormone released from the cells in the islets of Langerhans on the pancreas, acts as an anabolic signal to controls the amounts of sugar (glucose) in the blood [Page 2006, Rang...