What is LADA?
Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults
LADA, also referred to as “Type 1.5” diabetes or “double diabetes”, is similar to type 1 diabetes, except that it develops over several years. In the 1970s doctors discovered LADA when testing the general population and type 2 patients for the presence of autoantibodies found in type 1 patients. As hypothesized, the general population did not have these autoantibodies, but a small percentage of type 2 patients tested positive, suggesting a new of category of diabetes.
The Difference between Type 1, LADA, and Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes has been categorized as type 1 and type 2. While patients with type 1 diabetes have a rapid onset and sudden dependence on insulin, patients with LADA gradually become insulin dependent. LADA, like type 1 diabetes, is an autoimmune disease which can not be prevented.
Key Characteristics of Type 1, LADA and Type 2 Diabetes:
Due to the age of onset, many individuals with LADA are diagnosed as type 2. However, they typically have a normal body mass index (BMI) and do not ﬁt the phenotype of a type 2 diabetic. Today, scientists estimate 10% – 15% of type 2 patients have latent autoimmune diabetes and may be misdiagnosed and treated as type 2 diabetes.
Because LADA is an autoimmune disease, diagnosis criteria require testing of several antibodies:
- Islet Cell Antibodies (ICA)
- Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase (GAD) Antibodies
- Insulin Antibodies (IAA)
Patients with LADA are at the same risk for complications as type 1 and type 2 diabetics.
This includes but is not limited to:
- Kidney Disease
- Cardiovascular Disease (CAD)
- Nerve Damage
- Eye Damage
The risk of complication is directly related to how well blood sugars are managed.
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