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What is Autoimmune Diabetes?

Posted on September 13, 2013 | No Comments on What is Autoimmune Diabetes?

Autoimmune diabetes is short for latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), which refers to one of the new subtypes of diabetes that falls between type 1 and type 2 diabetes thus, some doctors prefer calling it as 1.5 diabetes. This type of diabetes affects approximately 10 percent of people with diabetes and is gradually progressing variant of type 1 diabetes, although it is often misdiagnosed as type 2. At the moment, further research and study is still needed on the ins and outs of autoimmune diabetes.

The auto immune diabetes partakes of both the symptoms and indications of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. That’s why it is described as falling in between the two. Like the type 1 diabetes, the auto immune diabetes similarly indicate the presence of autoantibodies, which are symptoms that indicate the body has started an autoimmune attack on the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Some patients with LASA experience insulin resistance while some don’t. Meanwhile like the type 2 diabetes, the auto immune diabetes similarly occurs among adults at the onset usually at the age of 35 years old and above.

The Progression to insulin dependence is also slow or latent which will take months or years. Insulin dependence occurs within six years. The defining factor or ingredient of autoimmune diabetes is the presence of auto¬antibodies or islet cell autoantibody (ICA) or Glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibody (GADA) related to diabetes, which while few compared to type 1 diabetes are still capable of destroying beta cells in the pancreas within 5 years hence LADA patients would often require insulin usually after 6 months after diagnosis and becomes dependent on insulin within six to 12 years.

Since the autoimmune diabetes initially does not require insulin at the time of diagnosis, it should be immediately be addressed and managed by changing one’s lifestyle. Basically, this change would involve engaging in exercise, eating correctly, and, if obese, should try to lose or reduce weight. A patient with LADA also generally responds to oral diabetes medications. However, changing to a healthy lifestyle especially in eating properly is primarily the only way to avert or reverse the progressive damage of the beta cells that could lead to diabetes that involves insulin dependence.

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