Afrezza & T1D

April 19, 2021
Alex Reidy
Alex Reidy is 28 years old and currently living in New York City. She was unexpectedly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about a month before her junior year of college. The diagnosis was a challenge that really shook up her life. It has been quite the journey, but she realized that she was in control of her health and wellness. She researches about type 1 as much as she can, and is constantly searching for new tips and tricks about how she can manage her diabetes most effectively. She loves sharing her experiences, both good and bad. Follow her journey on Instagram at @icedcoffeeandinsulin.

My diabetes routine has truly been transformed by Afrezza®. If you have been following along on my Instagram (@icedcoffeeandinsulin), you may have seen me talk about Afrezza®. Afrezza® is the only rapid acting insulin available that can be inhaled.

With the proper balance of Afrezza® (rapid acting insulin) and Tresiba® (long-acting insulin), I have found a stable routine with MDI (multiple daily injections) that works best for me.

If you are currently living with T1D, you know how frustrating stubborn high blood sugars can be to your body/mental health. Before Afrezza®, I would find myself stuck with a high blood sugar (200-350) and constantly adding more and more Novalog® to my pump to lower my blood sugar. It would sometimes take hours to see any movement on my levels – which was so aggravating. Other times, I would take way too much insulin and be in a downward spiral of dangerous lows and correcting.

“If you are currently living with T1D, you know how frustrating stubborn high blood sugars can be to your body/mental health.”

It is extremely draining to be doing everything “right” by injecting insulin – but still run into issues with absorption, taking too much/too little, and/or having the insulin stay in your system for too long. I was losing sleep, I would crash and burn during workouts, and I felt ultimately defeated.

After explaining my frustration with my endocrinologist, he recommended trying Afrezza®. I was amazed at the result! For one, it worked quickly and efficiently. The insulin was in and out of my system so fast that I never experienced dangerous lows. Soon, I was using Afrezza® as my only form of fast-acting insulin. I was only using my pump for the Basal settings (constant flow of insulin throughout the day) while relying on Afrezza® for my Bolus (fast-acting insulin used for meal-time, corrections, etc.).

A few key highlights of Afrezza®:

  • Inhaled, not injected
  • Fast-acting insulin
  • Works instantly, so it can be taken immediately at the start of eating a meal/snacks
  • Only comes in 4 unit4-unit, 8- unit, and 12- unit cartridges (important to note that these units to not equal what you would dose for Novalog® and Humalog®)
  • Example: 4 units of Afrezza® = 2.5 units of Novalog®, 8 units of Afrezza® = 4 units of Novalog®.

The cartridges are placed in a chamber within the small inhaler, and then inhaled through the mouth.
The great news about Afrezza® is that you can fit it into your current insulin regime – whether you are on an insulin pump or doing MDI.

If you are considering Afrezza® as an option within your current insulin regime, I strongly suggest connecting with your endocrinologist to discuss how it would benefit you and your routine. If you are still wanting to know more, here are my top pro’s and con’s of Afrezza®:


  • Less injections.
  • Afrezza® takes the place of Novalog®/Humalog® in your routine (I only take one injection per day).

  • It looks like an inhaler, so it’s not this daunting needle that you have to pull out.
  • The inhaler is so small, that the “embarrassment” factor goes away here. People think that it’s an inhaler for asthma or, even, a type of vape or tobacco pen!

  • In and out of your system.
  • You don’t have to worry about the insulin staying in your system for hours at a time. It works so quickly that you can take it and move on with your day without worrying about any random lows.

  • It works – FAST.
  • I have never had to “insulin stack” with Afrezza®. I take the puff and know that my blood sugar will go down.

“It looks like an inhaler, so it’s not this daunting needle that you have to pull out.”


  • Expensive.
  • This is dependent on the type of insurance that you have. Many insurances don’t cover it.

  • You have to inhale it properly, or it won’t work.
  • You have to inhale the insulin at a specific angle for it to properly go through your system. If I’m rushing, the insulin doesn’t go into my system and I have to redo it.

  • You may have to take double dosages for super high-carb meals.
  • Because the insulin works so rapidly, and is in and out of the body in a short amount of time, I find myself having to take an initial Afrezza® dose – and then taking a second dose 30-minutes-to-an-hour later. This isn’t necessarily a “con,” but it’s something to think about.

    In conclusion, I would highly recommend Afrezza®. If you are experiencing difficulties with stubborn highs and find yourself “stacking” your bolus to correct, Afrezza® might be the perfect solution for you. Bring it up at your next endocrinology appointment!

    MannKind Corp., the company which produces Afrezza, is a Corporate Member of The Diabetes Link. One of the young adults in our network who uses Afrezza as part of their diabetes management wrote this blog about their experience.

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