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Latent Autoimmune Diabetes Of Adulthood (LADA) is a form of
autoimmune diabetes that usually develops in people between 30 and 50 years of
age. This condition is sometimes unofficially referred to as 1.5 type diabetes
to show the fact that LADA is a form of type 1 diabetes that shares certain characteristics
with type 2 diabetes.
In LADA, as in type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system
mistakenly destroys beta cells, which are responsible for producing insulin in
the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to help glucose get from your
blood into your body’s cells to produce energy. As a result of beta cells
destruction, pancreas produces insufficient amount of insulin and later may
stop producing insulin at all, but as opposed to type 1 diabetes, in LADA, beta
cells are being destroyed at a much slower rate – sometimes it takes more than
a year. The slow progression of the disease and the fact that LADA is diagnosed
in adulthood, show resemblance to type 2 diabetes. However, unlike type 2
diabetes, which can be managed with diet and exercise, LADA cannot be reversed
with lifestyle changes.
Symptoms of Latent Autoimmune Diabetes Of Adulthood are
similar to those of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. At first, a person with LADA
may start feeling tired much more often than usual, especially after meals. As
the disease progresses, other symptoms such as increased thirst and hunger,
frequent urination, tingling nerves, blurry vision, and unexplained weight loss
It is imperative to recognize LADA’s symptoms as early as
possible because the earlier the disease is taken under control, the less risk
of complications. However, LADA is often misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes
because in many cases people get diagnosed with this diabetes type when they
are around 40 years of age or older and because LADA has a slow progression.
To determine or rule out a LADA diagnosis, your doctor should
run Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase Autoantibodies test (GAD antibody test) to
determine the presence of elevated levels of pancreatic autoantibodies. Besides,
people with Latent Autoimmune Diabetes Of Adulthood are usually not obese, do
not have high blood pressure and cholesterol level, and they cannot improve
their diabetes control with lifestyle change or medications.
If you have been diagnosed with Latent Autoimmune Diabetes
Of Adulthood, you should immediately take measures to avoid long-term diabetes complications.
Such complications may include ketoacidosis, cardiovascular disease, stroke,
nerve disease (neuropathy), kidney disease (nephropathy), and retina disease (retinopathy),
as well as problems with your feet.
Because Latent Autoimmune Diabetes Of Adulthood
progresses slowly, at the early stage of the disease you might be able to
produce a sufficient amount of insulin to keep your blood sugar level within
proper limits. When production of insulin decreases, medications like thiazolidinediones
and metformin can effectively manage symptoms. Eventually, after a period of
several months to a year since diagnosis, pancreas will stop producing insulin
and you will need insulin injections to continue managing LADA.
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