Latent Auto-Immune Diabetes in Adults (LADA)
Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA) is a condition in which an adult (over the age of 30) is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes . In the majority of cases, Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed when the diabetic is young due to the nature of Type 1diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body does not produce insulin and consequently, cannot process sugar on its own.
LADA is known be several names, including Late-onset Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood, Slow Onset Type 1 and Type 1.5 (one and a half) diabetes.
LADA is often mistaken for Type 2 diabetes because of the diabetic’s age at the time of the diagnosis. Initially, many LADA diabetics will initially respond well to Type 2 diabetes medications , such as Metformin . However, according to some statistics, an estimated 20% of diabetics that are initially diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes actually have LADA.
Characteristics of Adult with LADA
- Adult age at time of diagnosis (usually over 30 years of age)
- May initially appear to be non-obese Type 2 diabetes
- May initially be controlled with nutrition and exercise
- Patient gradually becomes dependent on insulin
- Body has presence of positive antibodies
- Low C-peptide levels in the body
- Often does not have a family history of Type 2 diabetes
LADA vs. Type 2
The major different between diabetics that have LADA and diabetics that have Type 2 diabetes is that when a person has LADA, he or she does not have insulin resistance. Instead, the person does not produce insulin at all.
However, a person with Type 2 diabetes has insulin resistance, meaning that the body may produce some insulin, but it is either not enough or the body does not respond well enough for the insulin to be effective in reducing the blood sugar level of the diabetic. Click here for more interactive learning about the digestion process.
Treatment For LADA
While not all doctors agree about the effectiveness of LADA treatments, many doctors believe that starting a patient on insulin therapy immediately can help to repair some of the damaged Beta cells in the pancreas. Therefore, initial treatment would be similar to a Type 1 diabetic.
However, some doctors also believe that treatment that is typically reserved for Type 2 diabetes can be effective, such as Sulfonylureas, Metformin, and other oral diabetes medications .