Be Informed About Brittle Diabetes

Individuals whose bodies cannot produce insulin have type 1 diabetes. It is an unstable condition that requires careful management through medication, diet and lifestyle choices. “Brittle Diabetes” refers to extremely unstable cases of type 1 diabetes. It affects three out of every 1,000 insulin-dependent individuals.

People with brittle diabetes cannot carry out their usual daily activities owed to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or sometimes a mix of both.

"Real brittle diabetes doesn’t follow patterns," explains Peter J. Nebergall, Ph.D. "Individuals whose diabetes is 'brittle' experience unpredictable, out-of-proportion rises and swoops in blood glucose, within short periods of time, as a result of very small deviations from schedule."

Eight Things to Know About Brittle Diabetes

  1. Both men and women have brittle diabetes, though it is most common in young women. Many individuals who suffer from it are 15 to 30 years old. In some cases, thorough education on insulin management backed by an adequate support network can lessen or resolve a young person’s experience of brittle diabetes.
  2. People with brittle diabetes typically have frequent and sometimes lengthy hospitalizations and are often absent from school or work.
  3. If a diabetic’s blood glucose levels respond to drug treatment in a hospital or other controlled setting, doctors look for environmental, psychological or behavioral reasons for brittle diabetes.
  4. Individuals with mental, emotional or environmental difficulties may not maintain a healthy diet or manage their blood glucose well, setting the stage for brittle diabetes. In these cases, psychotherapy is frequently an effective treatment.
  5. The health difficulties and life disruptions of having brittle episodes are stressful, anxiety-producing and depressing, possibly triggering mental health problems. When these occur, support groups and psychotherapy are helpful supplements to other treatments.
  6. Possible physical causes of brittle diabetes is defective insulin absorption, drug interference (e.g., alcohol, antipsychotics), a defect related to hyperglycemic hormones such as glucagon and glucocorticoid, and delayed gastric emptying (emptying of the stomach) caused by autonomic neuropathy.
  7. When the cause of brittle diabetes is determined to be physical, the use of a continuous insulin pump may be recommended to control glucose levels as precisely as possible. People with severe brittle diabetes and who have exhausted other means of blood glucose management may be asked to consider islet or pancreas transplantation.
  8. Treatment of all brittle diabetes should ideally involve a multidisciplinary team including the patient, a diabetes specialist, primary care doctor, nurse, dietician, psychologist/psychiatrist/psychotherapist, podiatrist, family, and friends.

Sources: InTechOpen
Photo: Pexels

Get A Free 7 Day Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

Eleven Clinical Studies

After eleven clinical studies and 300,000 participants, researcher Vasanti Malik and her team of researchers...

Diabetic women often have a harder time losing weight than non-diabetic women. A study funded by Jenny Craig proved that diabetic women have an...

Many recent studies have proved that magnesium levels are lower in patients with diabetes than in non-diabetics. This magnesium...

Fluid retention, also known as edema, is a problem that affects many diabetics, especially those with type 2 diabetes...

Some of us might be thrilled if we could manage our blood sugar by sitting in a hot tub or sauna, instead of working up a sweat biking, or using...

More Articles

Cooking and baking with the ancient cereal grain sorghum has health benefits for people with diabetes, and those with weight control issues....

When it comes to certain foods, there are always questions as to whether or not a diabetic can have them without...

With its slightly nutty flavor, chewy texture, and nutritional punch farro is an ancient whole grain worth a place in our pantry.

Farro...

Matcha tea is a rich, creamy, full-bodied beverage with amazing nutritional properties that address several diabetes health concerns.

The...

According to information available through the National Institutes of Health, there’s an estimated 462 million people in the world who are...

Salads are good example of foods that type 2 diabetics can enjoy with relatively low guilt. With the right greens and other elements added, salad...

Remaining gainfully employed is important to many people. Those who live with any form of diabetes may find that some lines of work are more...

Learning that you have diabetes does mean making some lifestyle changes. One of the areas that needs attention is your diet. Most people find that...

One of the more challenging aspects of life as a type 2 diabetic is managing your diet. There’s often the temptation to avoid certain foods...

The green, heavily ridged acorn squash is plentiful in the marketplace this time of year. Though, Acorn squash has a high glycemic index rank of...

A 1300-Calorie diet is a way of eating that limits your daily calorie intake to only 1300 calories a day. This is considered a low calorie diet,...

Maca Root is an editable root vegetable, and is known as Peruvian Ginsing. It is a relative of the radish and turnip family, and is remarkable...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

People who use insulin pumps purposefully break their skin, the body’s main defense against bacteria, to receive continuous doses of life-saving...

Diabetes can seem to have an almost limitless list of symptoms. Now headaches are added to the list. The ebb...