Unmasking LADA: A Guide to the Lesser-Known Form of Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition affecting millions of people worldwide. There are two main types: type 1 and type 2.  However, there’s a lesser-known form called Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), which can sometimes be confusing to differentiate from the classical types.

What is LADA?

LADA, also referred to as type 1.5 diabetes, is an autoimmune form of diabetes that develops in adulthood.  Unlike type 1 diabetes, which typically appears in childhood and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, LADA’s progression is slower.  People with LADA may still produce some insulin initially, but the body’s immune system gradually attacks these beta cells over time.  This distinction between rapid and slow destruction differentiates LADA from classic type 1 diabetes.

How Does LADA Differ from Classical Types?

While LADA shares some characteristics with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, here’s a breakdown of the key differences:

  • Age of Onset: Type 1 diabetes typically starts in childhood or adolescence, while type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults over 40, often associated with weight management challenges. LADA falls in between, affecting adults, often in their 30s to 50s.
  • Insulin Dependence: People with classic type 1 diabetes require insulin therapy from the outset due to complete beta cell destruction. Initially, some individuals with LADA may manage with lifestyle modifications and oral medications, but eventually, most become insulin-dependent as the disease progresses.
  • Autoimmune Markers: Both LADA and type 1 diabetes are linked to the presence of autoantibodies, indicating the immune system’s attack on pancreatic beta cells. People with type 2 diabetes typically don’t have these markers.

Symptoms of LADA

LADA symptoms can be subtle and develop gradually, often mirroring those of type 2 diabetes. Here are some common signs to watch out for:

  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections

Diagnosis of LADA

Diagnosing LADA can be challenging because it falls in the grey zone between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.  Several factors are considered, including:

  • Age of onset
  • Medical history
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Blood tests: These can check blood sugar levels, the presence of autoantibodies, and other markers.

Treatment Options for LADA

Similar to type 1 diabetes, there’s no cure for LADA. However, effective treatments can help manage the condition and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. These include:

  • Insulin therapy: Tailored insulin regimens are crucial for managing blood sugar and preventing complications.
  • Healthy lifestyle choices: A balanced diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight are essential for overall well-being.
  • Blood sugar monitoring: Regular self-monitoring helps to adjust treatment plans and track progress.

Prevention Strategies for LADA

Unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed way to prevent LADA as it’s an autoimmune condition. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and a healthy weight can contribute to overall well-being and potentially reduce the risk of developing diabetes in general.


LADA, though less common, is a vital form of diabetes to be aware of. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking timely diagnosis is crucial for effective management. If you suspect you or someone you know might have LADA, consulting the Best Doctor for Diabetes is essential. Supreme Hospital has a team of highly qualified diabetologists with extensive experience in diagnosing and treating all forms of diabetes, including LADA. With customized treatment plans and comprehensive support, Supreme Hospital having the Best Doctor for Diabetes empowers you to manage your diabetes and live a fulfilling life.  Schedule an appointment today and take charge of your health!

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