What Causes Brittle Diabetes?

March 20, 2024

In normal cases, diabetes is a disease that can be relatively easy to control provided the patient takes their condition seriously. However, there is a condition called brittle diabetes, which is much more difficult to control. This subset of diabetes is characterized by a pattern of unpredictable glucose swings that can lead to some serious health issues and even hospitalization if not managed correctly. In this day and age, brittle diabetes has become much less common simply because medical professionals have a better understanding of how to manage regular diabetes. However, due to various factors, there is still a potential someone could have the misfortune of being diagnosed with brittle diabetes.

Here are some causes of brittle diabetes patients should be aware of.


Gastroparesis can ultimately lead to brittle diabetes if it isn’t held in check. It can be defined as a condition where food will remain in the stomach for much longer than normal. Moreover, it can manifest itself in two different types: idiopathic and diabetic. In the idiopathic version of gastroparesis, the main cause of it is not readily known, but the lengthened amount of time food remains in the stomach leads to inadequate grinding. In diabetic gastroparesis, the vagus nerve can often get damaged after years of unchecked glucose levels. Unpredictable digestion is a mainstay in this condition, and this can lead to fluctuations in glucose levels. If gastroparesis is left untreated for a lengthy period, brittle diabetes can definitely occur.

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Intense Insulin Sensitivity

It’s a sad fact of life that there are some individuals out there who have serious difficulty controlling their insulin, leading to a great deal of frustration for them. Unfortunately, it also can lead to them entering into a vicious cycle where they get brittle diabetes as a result of not being able to control their glucose levels and then having the problem continue because of acquiring brittle diabetes. So when patients have insulin fluctuations, what is the best way to try to rein it in? Besides consulting a doctor, one of the best things for patients to do would be to limit their carbohydrate intake. There have been many individuals who have struggled with intense insulin sensitivity who have reported them stabilizing when they limit their carbohydrates.

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Not Following Proper Diabetes Treatment

It is imperative for patients to follow the proper diabetes treatment prescribed by their doctor. This means taking their diabetes medication even if it is expensive. However, this is just a start. Diabetes patients must also be as diligent as possible when it comes to monitoring their glucose. They must become proficient at taking their injections and knowing when the appropriate times to take them are. Moreover, patients will need to watch their diet, making sure they avoid sugary drinks and foods loaded with carbohydrates. Instead, diabetes patients should be sure to eat foods rich in fiber such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and Lima beans. Patients who have difficulties keeping organized should consider keeping a journal of all of the things they did each day to treat their diabetes, because not following proper diabetes treatment can have serious consequences.

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Celiac Disease

Celiac disease deals with how the immune system responds to gluten in blood. In short, they have a negative influence on the gluten, causing them to activate T-cells, which then go on to mistakenly attack the intestinal wall. After this occurs, the nutrient-absorbing villi are damaged, leading to improperly absorbed nutrients and a number of other serious medical issues. In a type 1 diabetes patient who has celiac disease, the first thing that could happen would be a severe spike in hypoglycemic conditions. This alone could have serious consequences, but if this disease is left untreated, in a type 1 diabetes patient it almost certainly will lead to brittle diabetes. However, there is good news for those concerned about celiac disease. Simply eliminating gluten from one's diet will all but eliminate the symptoms of celiac disease.

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Increased Stress

One of the ways that increased stress can play a role in brittle diabetes would be because it can cause the body to have a temporary and extremely strong resistance to insulin. Naturally, this means the body will not react to insulin in the correct manner. To exacerbate the problem, patients often will have sudden flare-ups that will often occur without warning. Thus, high amounts of stress can cause diabetes patients to not be able to accurately judge how much insulin they need. What is the solution to preventing stress-induced brittle diabetes? It’s simple, really. Patients should try to find some ways to manage their stress better. Although it can be difficult to change one's mindset, it can definitely help patients prevent brittle diabetes from occurring due to stress.

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