Brittle diabetes mellitus, Brittle type 1 diabetes, Labile diabetes
Type of disease: Rare conditions
Brittle diabetes is characterized by severe instability of blood glucose levels with frequent and unpredictable episodes of hypoglycemia and/or ketoacidosis that disrupt quality of life, often requiring frequent or prolonged hospitalizations. These unpredictable episodes are due to an absolute insulin dependency, affecting type 1 diabetics almost exclusively. Brittle diabetes is most common in women in their twenties or thirties, but can occur at any age and in either gender. The condition may be caused by stress and hormonal inbalance, neglect of self-care (noncompliance), or underlying medical conditions such as malabsorption, delayed gastric emptying due to autonomic neuropathy, drug or alcohol use or abnormal insulin absorption or degradation. Treatment is difficult and dependent upon the underlying cause. Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.