"Brittle" Diabetic...out-date-term or term doctors' don't see much of"

I seen a post about this on another diabetic website and thought I’d write a post about it being a diagnosed “brittle” diabetic. I was told I was a “brittle” diabetic from the beginning when my numbers were all over the place. I wasn’t this way when I was on the insulin pump but because of a loss of insurance I am not able to be on one anymore. I have to get my medicine either generic or through patient assistance programs. I only qualify for this as long as I am living with my mom, her husband, my brother, and my husband. My husband is the only one that works. My mom’s husband gets $600 for Social Security Disability. I am currently not able to work and waiting to hear about Disabled Medicaid (that’s what Utah offers to those of use who don’t have kids), my brother is 17 (high school drop out, can’t understand anything for the GED, won’t get a job and is partially blind because of a hereditary disease that hits the males in the family) and there has been no jobs for my mom’s area of work so she is going back to school. So things are a little difficult money wise to spend on medications.

I was told a few months ago by my doctor that I am a “brittle” diabetic after looking at my log books. I am fine in the morning then raise up, then go back down, then go back up and so on, so forth. Its always been like this. That’s why it was a joint decision for me to talk to a diabetes educator about Symlin since the doctor that I used to see has just finished his residency and is leaving the clinic that I normally go to. He was really good for being a resident and if I had insurance I could go and still see him at his new clinic. But seeing a new endocrinologist would be a lot better for me. I used to see one before I lost my insurance and they always had better luck with it. Though I know that they are going to push for an insulin pump.

Anyways, I don’t think “brittle” diabetic is an out-dated term. I think its because people who have good control over their diabetes have good insurance and are able to control it. I also think doctors’ don’t see it because there are diabetics without insurance that can only go to the doctor to get their refills on the medicine.

Good points!

My mom was considered a “brittle diabetic” - I could see her blood sugars go from the 40’s to the 400’s in just a few minutes. I think (in my uneducated, but much experienced opinion grin) that there are WAY more than two or three types of diabetes. I think some people are much more strongly affected in their blood sugars by forces beyond diet/exercise/medication. Stress, hormones - heck, maybe even barometric pressure - who knows!

I would also assume that we hear this term less and less because (Thank God!) technology is beginning to offer tighter control and better testing - so incremental changes can be implemented quickly enough to make a difference, rather than dealing with the high or low after the fact… So - yes - I think “brittle diabetic” is a term that is on it’s way out - though there are still and will continue to be diabetics who have a MUCH more difficult time controlling their glucose levels (through no fault of their own) than others…

I think that is good in a way - the term “brittle diabetes” could tend to give people a sense of helplessness - a feeling that control is beyond them by nature of their disease or condition - However, a term that gives some respect to the person who has a much more challenging type of diabetes would be nice… as well as helping to absolve them of the sense of guilt and responsibility that many of us have when we see our numbers act in unpredictable ways…

Best wishes!

I had been told I was a brittle diabetic, and I felt offended by that term. I had really good A1c’s even without insurance, the problem was it wasn’t as well managed as it is now that I am on a pump, I heard that there is also a way you can get help to finance your pump through the company, but I think that’s if you are a student and working.

The term used by the medical profession is “Labile” diabetes, not brittle. By that, they mean that a person has a type of diabetes when a person’s blood glucose level often swings quickly from high to low and from low to high in spite of following prescribed treatment protocols.