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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Brittle diabetes

Other Names for this Disease
  • Brittle diabetes mellitus
  • Brittle type 1 diabetes
  • Labile diabetes
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What causes brittle diabetes?

There are multiple causes of brittle diabetes.[1][2] Emotional stress seems to play an important role, in some cases leading to hormonal inbalances which can lead to brittle diabetes. Emotional stress can also lead to a shift in the behavior of an individual, leading them to neglect their self-care.[2] Other cases can be traced to physiological causes, including malabsorption, delayed gastric emptying due to autonomic neuropathy (gastroparesis), celiac disease, impaired glucose counterregulation (which doesn't allow the patient's body to react as it should when blood glucose levels drop), hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency, drug or alcohol use, systemic insulin resistance, and abnormal insulin absorption or degradation.[1][2]
Last updated: 8/8/2013

  1. McCulloch DK. The adult patient with brittle diabetes mellitus. UpToDate. August 17, 2012; Accessed 8/8/2013.
  2. Brittle Diabetes Causes. Brittle Diabetes Foundation.!bd-info/vstc8=causes. Accessed 8/8/2013.