LADA - Type 1.5 Diabetes
LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults), also known as type 1.5 diabetes, is an autoimmune form of diabetes that strikes in adulthood. The disease is similar to type 1 diabetes in many respects, and gradually leads to an absolute need for insulin treatment. However the progress of the disease is slower than in type 1 diabetes. Because the disorder primarily affects adults and does not immediately require insulin treatment, LADA patients are often incorrectly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Today up to 10 percent of all patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes actually have LADA. LADA patients characteristically have antibodies to GAD, which is a sign of the ongoing autoimmune attack on the insulin-producing cells. This means that LADA patients can be diagnosed with an antibody test.
At first LADA patients usually have significantly better insulin production than type 1 diabetes patients and do not necessarily require insulin treatment. However, after a few years, daily insulin injections are required to keep the blood sugar at an acceptable level. The long-term complications of diabetes affect LADA patients to a great extent.