Brittle diabetes is a term coined for a severe form of diabetes that is difficult to manage, especially type 1 diabetes. Therefore, people suffering from this kind of diabetes have extreme swings in their blood glucose levels, resulting in frequent bouts of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
What are the causes?
There are various factors that can lead to brittle diabetes like issues with absorption in the intestines caused by delayed stomach emptying, drug interactions, problems with insulin absorption and malfunctioning hormones. Severe psychological issues like stress and depression also play a vital role in the development of this type of diabetes. Obese females in their 20s or 30s suffering from hormonal imbalance and experiencing high level of stress on a day to day basis are prone to suffer from this.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of brittle diabetes are like that of hypo- and hyperglycemia due to fluctuations in blood sugar. Extremely low blood sugar causes giddiness, weakness, irritability, severe hunger pangs, shaking of hands, diplopia (double vision), headaches, and difficulty in sleeping. If the patient is hyperglycemic, it is seen as weakness, changes in vision, increased thirst, increased frequency of urination, and dry skin.
How can this be treated?
Controlling your blood sugar level is the treatment for brittle diabetes. Another effective treatment plan is to identify and correct any underlying physical or psychological problem. The treatment plan should be such that it takes care of any behavioral, psychological, or environmental factor. Treatment plan including psychotherapy and therapy to reduce stress have proved effective in treating brittle diabetes. In some individuals with brittle diabetes despite the treatment, blood sugar fluctuations are seen. In a few severe cases, a pancreas transplant can be considered, but it is rarely needed as brittle diabetes generally responds well to change in plan of treatment.