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What is a brittle diabetic?

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Quick Answer

A brittle diabetic is a diabetic person whose blood sugar levels rapidly increase and decrease, according to Healthline. Brittle diabetes is a rare and severe type of diabetes that often occurs in type 1 diabetes patients.

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While type 1 diabetics have low blood sugar levels, brittle diabetics experience high blood sugar levels due to a reaction to insulin, explains Healthline. Glucose changes often occur quickly and unexpectedly, leading to severe discomfort. Hospitalization is necessary in some cases.

Women, people with hormonal imbalances, overweight individuals and those with hypothyroidism are prone to develop brittle diabetes, states Healthline. People who are depressed, experiencing extreme stress regularly, or are between 20 and 30 years of age are also at risk.

When brittle diabetics have very low blood sugar levels, they typically become dizzy, weak, irritable or extremely hungry, notes Healthline. They may also experience intense headaches, sleeping trouble, double vision or shaking hands. Weakness, extreme thirst, frequent urination, dry skin and changes in vision are symptoms that may indicate high blood glucose in brittle diabetics.

Treatment involves using subcutaneous insulin pumps to balance blood sugar, says Healthline. It is essential for brittle diabetics to check their blood sugar regularly to ensure that it doesn’t reach high levels. In rare cases, severe brittle diabetes may require a pancreas transplant.

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