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January 8, 2002

Type 2

Question from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, USA:

Can someone with type 2 diabetes be classified as having brittle diabetes?


I have heard of it for folks with type 1 diabetes being classified as “brittle”, but not those with type 2 diabetes. However, brittle diabetes is a term not really used anymore. We have found that folks labelled “brittle” often just have not had a chance to try a variety of new options for caring for their diabetes. If someone is said to have brittle diabetes, it often means they have given up, so we prefer to think of individuals as having challenges with their diabetes, but with the correct team and their efforts, we can help them achieve the best health possible.

Additional comments from Dr. Jim Lane:

I agree with the response that the term brittle diabetes is really a poor term. Brittle diabetes can also result from poor self-treatment or an inappropriate insulin regimen. Rather than focusing on brittle diabetes, I would strongly suggest more intensive therapy with frequent monitoring, discussion, education, and re-evaluation.