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What is LADA?

August 17, 2011

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)

Long-Term Complications

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
  • Stroke
  • Eye Damage

The risk of complication is directly related to how well blood sugars are managed.

Save this resource as a pdf or find more resources at JDRF Dallas Resource webpage.

This resource is provided by JDRF International. Please consult your physician to learn more or visit A Sweet Life or dLife for personal and professional articles regarding LADA.


To learn more about the JDRF Dallas chapter, visit our JDRF Dallas website!

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