In its early stages LADA typically presents as type 2 diabetes and is often misdiagnosed as such. However, LADA more closely resembles type 1 diabetes and shares common physiological characteristics of type 1 for metabolic dysfunction, genetics, and autoimmune features, but LADA does not affect children and is classified distinctly as being separate from juvenile diabetes.
Diagnostic tests include:
Other characteristics of LADA that may aid in differential diagnosis include:
Initially, a person with LADA may respond to oral diabetes medications and lifestyle changes, but beta cells continue to be destroyed and LADA patients should be closely monitored. Some studies have demonstrated that the use of sulfonylureas and the insulin-sensitizing drug metformin, may increase the risk of severe metabolic disorder in persons with LADA. Once blood glucose can no longer be managed through lifestyle and medications, daily insulin injections will be required.
80% of persons initially diagnosed with type 2 but test positive for GAD (an indication of LADA). progress to insulin dependency within 6 years. But those who test positive for both GAD and IA2 will progress more rapidly to insulin dependence.
Living with any chronic illness is stressful, and patients with LADA may be more prone to depression and eating disorders as a result. Counseling, therapy, and participation in support groups can play an important and positive role in the lives of persons with LADA.
Part of diabetes therapy should include patient education about diet, exercise, stress management, and handling their diabetes on "sick" days. Patients need to understand how to manage their diabetes, as well as how to recognize, treat, and prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and how to give injections of insulin and glucagon. Blood glucose levels should be checked not less than 3-4 times per day once a patient is insulin dependent and, often, at least once during the night.
When blood glucose falls too low a person can become disoriented and unable to swallow. Without being able to ingest a fast-acting sugar they may lose consciousness. Untreated, hypoglycemia can lead to seizures, diabetic coma and death. Onset of hypoglycemia is often rapid and may be attributed to many things including too much insulin (insulin shock), not eating enough, heavy exercise, excitement, certain medications, or a combination of factors.
Because of the potential danger associated with hypoglycemia, persons using insulin should carry a glucagon kit, fast-acting food sugars, and medical identification with them at all times. At least one family member or friend should be instructed on glucagon administration as the patient is likely to be unable to inject themselves.
A person in DKA requires immediate medical attention and should not attempt to simply administer more insulin independent of a physician's recommendation. Doing so (self-treating) could lead to serious health risks, even death. DKA can lead to heart failure, cerebral edema, coma, and death.
Uncontrolled diabetes results in high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) which over time may cause diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, kidney failure, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), chronic infections and wounds that may not heal, erectile and other urological dysfunction, gastroparesis (delayed emptying of stomach contents), blindness, amputation, lactic acidosis, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Eventually, LADA patients will become dependent upon insulin in order to maintain glucose control. They will require daily injection of insulin and need to be diligent in following their diabetes care plan provided by their physician.
Diabetes, including latent autoimmune diabetes is a chronic illness that can have devastating complications. However, it is possible for most persons with diabetes to actively participate in their daily health care needs and dramatically reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
Patient education, motivation, and state of mental health all play an important role in how well a person with LADA will be able to manage their disease.
LADA is neither classified as type 2 diabetes or type 1 diabetes but considered somewhere in between. It is a form of type 1 diabetes that has similarities and differences to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
 Comparison of clinical features between (juvenile)type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and LADA; Islets of Hope (2006)
 Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults; Mona Landin-Olsson; Department of Diabetology and Endocrinology, University Hospital, S-221 85 Lund, Sweden; Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 958:112-116 (2002)
 C-peptide test;'' Labtestsoline.org
 Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults; David Leslie, Cristina Valerie DiabetesVoice.org; 2003
 Prevalence of GAD65 Antibodies in Lean Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes; A G Unnikrishnan, S K Singh and C B Sanjeevi; Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1037: 118–121 (2004). doi: 10.1196/annals.1337.018 Copyright © 2004 by the New York Academy of Sciences
 Autoimmune diabetes not requiring insulin at diagnosis (latent autoimmune diabetes of the adult: definition, characterization, and potential prevention Pozzilli P, Di Mario U. Universita Campus Biomedico and the. Universita La Sapienza, Rome, Italy. firstname.lastname@example.org. Diabetes Care. 2001 Aug;24(8):1460-7; PMID: 11473087 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
 cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11460597&dopt=Abstract Progress in the characterization of slowly progressive autoimmune diabetes in adult patients (LADA or type 1.5 diabetes). Schernthaner G, Hink S, Kopp HP, Muzyka B, Streit G, Kroiss A.; Department of Medicine I and Department of Nuclear Medicine, Rudolfstiftung Hospital Vienna, Austria; PMID: 11460597 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
 Understanding Diabetes; uchsc.edu
 Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1: A Review; eMedicine.com; updated 07/02/2006
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