Brittle diabetes is also known as unstable diabetes or labile diabetes. This rare version mainly happens to people with Type 1 diabetes. Talk to your healthcare provider about management methods, possibly including special equipment.

What is Brittle Diabetes?

Brittle diabetes is a type of diabetes that is more difficult to manage than other types. People with brittle diabetes have frequent swings in blood glucose (blood sugar), which can cause episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

Brittle diabetes is a type of diabetes that is known by a variety of names, including labile diabetes and unstable diabetes.

What is the Difference between Diabetes and Unstable Diabetes?

Although most people with diabetes can manage the disease with treatment and lifestyle changes, some people have brittle diabetes. This form of diabetes is characterized by frequent problems that can include:

  • Disrupt their ability to live everyday life.
  • This can lead to anxiety and depression.
  • In some cases, hospitalization or death may occur.

How Prevalent is Brittle Diabetes?

symptoms of brittle diabetesFew people with insulin-dependent diabetes will get brittle diabetes. It only affects 3 out of 1,000 people with the disease.

Brittle Diabetes Predisposition

Brittle diabetes is most often diagnosed in people with Type 1 diabetes and generally affects women aged 20-30. However, the cause is not fully understood.

Brittle Diabetes Causes

People with brittle diabetes have a tough time managing the disease. While diabetes is challenging to manage for anyone, there are many reasons why it can be challenging for people with this type of diabetes:

  • Gluten sensitivity is an autoimmune disease that affects the digestive tract.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Gastroparesis is a disease in which nerve damage impedes food emptying correctly.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency are two examples of hormonal imbalances.
  • Excessively concentrated diets may lead to nutritional deficiency and insulin insufficiency.
  • Insulin resistance is caused by stress, sadness, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Brittle Diabetes Symptoms

brittle diabetes meaningPeople with brittle diabetes have sudden and frequent changes in blood glucose levels for no apparent reason, which causes low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or high blood sugar (hyperglycemia).

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • Dizziness, shakiness, or weakness.
  • Fast heart rate.
  • Nervousness or perplexity.
  • Restless sleep.
  • Pale skin.
  • Sudden hunger.
  • Sweating.

The symptoms of hyperglycemia are as follows:

  • Blurry vision.
  • Feeling weak and tired.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Skin infections and cuts take a long time to heal.
  • Headache.
  • Thirst or hunger.

If left unchecked, hyperglycemia can lead to diabetes-related ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a serious complication caused by diabetes that can result in the following symptoms:

  • Dehydration.
  • Confusion.
  • Breath that smells like fruit.
  • Fast heart rate.
  • Vomiting.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Coma.
  • Diagnosis and Tests

What are the Methods of Diagnosing Labile Diabetes?

Brittle diabetes is diagnosed after severe, frequent hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia that disrupts life or leads to hospitalization. A healthcare provider specializing in diabetes (an endocrinologist) can review your blood glucose levels over time and determine whether you have brittle diabetes.

Management and Treatment

What is the Treatment for Brittle Diabetes?

People with brittle diabetes can benefit from a variety of treatments and procedures. They are as follows:

  • Insulin pump.
  • Continuous glucose monitor.
  • Islet cell transplantation: A healthcare provider removes healthy insulin-producing cells from a deceased person’s pancreas and implants them into the liver.
  • Pancreas transplantation: A donated pancreas is implanted by a surgeon.
  • Any underlying causes of brittle diabetes will be addressed by your medical professional. Treatment to alleviate psychological issues and tension, for example, might assist with diabetes management.


What can I do to Avoid Brittle Diabetes?

While, in some cases, brittle diabetes cannot be avoided, you can take preventive steps by regularly monitoring your blood glucose levels and heeding your healthcare provider’s guidance.


What is the Prognosis and Life Expectancy for Brittle Diabetes?

As a result, blood sugar levels should be monitored regularly, and lifestyle changes implemented to help avoid or minimize the severity of diabetes-related problems.

  • Complications include issues with the kidneys, eyes, heart, and nerves.
  • Frequent hospitalization.
  • Poor quality of life.
  • Difficult pregnancy.
  • A shorter life expectancy.

How Can Someone with Brittle Diabetes take care of Themselves?

  1. If you have diabetes, monitoring your blood sugar levels is crucial.
  2. To maintain steadier blood sugar levels, eat a healthy diet low in sugar and carbohydrates.
  3. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.
  4. Follow your doctor’s directions exactly.
  5. Maintaining a healthy weight.
  6. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully when taking diabetes medication.
  7. Blood sugar should be tested daily.
  8. Identify, assess, and troubleshoot blood glucose challenges.

When to Seek Medical Attention for Brittle Diabetes?

If you often experience hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia symptoms, speak with your healthcare provider. If you have diabetes-related ketoacidosis (DKA) symptoms, get medical help immediately, especially if you experience:

Brittle diabetes is a condition that most people should be aware of. Letko James has written this article to help educate those who may not know much about the disease. The main difference between brittle diabetes and other forms of diabetes is that brittle diabetes is more difficult to control. This can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. If you are experiencing any symptoms of brittle diabetes, you must see your doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.

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