"Brittle" diabetes is an old school term and used to be used by every doc if they saw a single high random number. It developed a bit into meaning unexplained fluctuations in blood glucose. But again, back in the days of R and Nph insulins, no carb counting, and no glucose meters, only readable sticks with ranges, a lot of stuff was unexplainable.
There are a very rare few that are truly brittle, but in the majority of cases you can figure out why you went high or low. This could be inaccurate carb counting, wrong insulin to carb ratio, bad basal rates, ambient temperatures, your mood (when I was happy as a kid I would go extremely low), hormones, and a ton of other stuff.
But the word exists even to this day by doctors that don't really know what it means.
In the article mentioned in davedsel's reply post, the words "neglect self care of diabetes" as a prominent cause of the old fashioned words "brittle diabetic". A neighbor of mine long ago was labeled "brittle" which meant her numbers were up and down all over the place and she was carted off to the hospital in near comas often.
It would help us to explaine more if you could say who used those words and what under circumstances they were applied to a person. Most people who educate themselves on diabetes and have up-to-date medical care, can match their carbohydrate(sugar) intake to the medicine amounts and avoid this dangerous condition.
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