Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Type 1, Type 2, and “Brittle” Diabetes……………

Yes, you read that correctly. Brittle Diabetes. If someone told you that you are a brittle diabetic, what would that mean to you? Do you have Type 1 or 2? Is your Diabetes worse than another person’s?

Well, Vince has been referred to by more than one of his doctors as a “Brittle Diabetic”. Of course we absolutely love his team of doctors, so we let it slide. But how they classify “Brittle Diabetes” is my question. My best guess is that they see a Type 1 Diabetic with an assortment of complications and “Brittle” must be a commonly used term in the medical world.

Let me set the record straight however. There is nothing Brittle about one Type 1 Diabetic vs. another.  One may have Diabetes for a very long time and may or may not have developed some complications as a result. I don’t consider the Diabetic with complications any more “Brittle” than the one without. The complications can arise from any number of factors. I personally do not believe that one person has a more serious or more “Brittle” form of Type 1 than the other. Then I start thinking about how Vince’s body handles his disease. We know from a very bad scare that he cannot handle steroids. This is common amongst Type 1’s. After a doctor’s mistake in giving Vince steroids confirmed this, we were obviously very careful in that department. A while later, he tried a different brand of medication for his post nasal drip. Both brands we are told are very similar, almost the exact same thing. We were hoping in switching him to the cheaper, generic form. Well, a few days later, the BG’s started to rise and cause trouble. We realized it was the new medication so he went back to the name brand form. When I questioned our pharmacist and the doctor, they all agreed that the two medications were pretty much the same thing and were a little surprised that one reacted so differently than the other. So Vince must be extra sensitive to medications and steroids.

Does this explain “Brittle” diabetes? Doesn’t every Diabetic react differently to different situations? Some feel every low and high, some don’t. Some need higher or lower Insulin to Carb ratio’s than the next person. One person may have a different normal range than the next. And so on…

So no, there is no such thing as your diabetes being brittle, bad, worse, horrible, great, good, or indifferent…Just Type 1 and Type 2  J


  1. Agreed.
    Tom has been called "brittle" but he doesn't have the complications Vince has.
    what in the heck do these words mean?

    I even forget the difference between Type 1 and 2 -- it seems to have changed over the years -- used to be juvenile and adult, then had to do with the functioning of the pancreas -- now? not so sure.....

    the bottom line is that the disease is awful!

  2. Might I suggest that you visit www.bdtype1.com to learn about this rare condition that affects less than 9.000 people in the USA. The NIH now recognizes brittle diabetes as a rare disease. See the fluctuations in blood glucose levels in the daily life of a compliant brittle diabetic and you will realize that a handful of people really do suffer from uncontrolled, unpredictable and unstable blood glucose levels. The Brittle Diabetes Foundation was formed to draw attention to the fact that there is a cause for the brittleness which when diagnosed and treated allows the individual to revert back to a more stable type1 condition. Getting physicians to take the time to search for the cause is our stated goal.