Cause and Risk Factors for Developing LADA
Ultimately, the cause of Type 1.5 Diabetes is the presence of auto-antibodies against the pancreatic cells, insulin, or enzymes involved in the functions of the pancreas.
LADA is a rare form of adult-onset diabetes that can occur in adults. Your risk for developing LADA is higher if you are:
- A low birthweight baby (strong risk factor)
- Overweight or obese in adulthood
- Sedentary, with low physical activity
- Drinking sweetened beverage
According to reports, the more risk factors you have, the higher the possibility is of developing Type 1.5 Diabetes. For example, if you have low birth weight and adult obesity, your risk becomes higher.
How is LADA Diagnosed?
LADA patients need to undergo all other tests for other types of diabetes, including Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS), HbA1c, self-monitoring of blood glucose, urinalysis, lipid profile, and serum creatinine. Of course, if there are complications, other tests may be necessary.
On top of this, The Immunology for Diabetes Society (IDS) has specified three criteria for LADA diagnosis3:
- Age older than 35
- Presence of auto-antibodies to islet beta cells
- Insulin independence for at least 6 months after the initial diagnosis – this means the patient does not need to receive insulin therapy for at least 6 months after being diagnosed.
Some experts challenge these criteria, particularly because the decision to receive insulin therapy lies mostly on the doctor. Furthermore, autoantibodies are also present in Type 1 Diabetes, although with slight differences.
How Is LADA Treated?
LADA is a chronic disease, which means there is no cure and the patient might need treatment for a long time.
Treatment usually involves a combination of medications, diet and lifestyle changes, exercise, insulin therapy, and possibly corticosteroids if your blood sugar levels are very high.
The goal of treatment for LADA is to get your blood glucose within the normal range as soon as possible. If you have mild symptoms that come on slowly over time (as opposed to more rapidly), then your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or getting more exercise instead of starting medication right away.
It’s important to work closely with your doctor so that you can manage your diabetes early on before complications develop significantly later in life!
Is LADA Preventable?
You may be wondering if it’s possible to prevent Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA). The answer is, in part, yes. Only in part because you cannot do anything about your genes or the development of autoantibodies. But there are some measures you can take to help reduce your chances of developing LADA:
- Be more physically active as a sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor.
- Achieve a healthy weight. Being overweight and obesity also increase insulin resistance, which can make it more difficult for your body to regulate glucose levels on its own without medication.
- Stop or avoid smoking.
- Have a healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. You might also want to cut back on sweetened beverages and processed foods.
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