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Understanding LADA: Navigating the Path to Type 1 Diabetes

The various names for different types of diabetes can be quite confusing. If you're someone who prefers clear-cut answers, you likely want to understand the type of diabetes you have, why you have it, and what to expect moving forward.

From LADA to MODY, Type 1, and Type 2, it's understandable to feel overwhelmed when diagnosed with any of these conditions. Often, the specifics of your diagnosis and what it means for your health may not be clearly explained.

Woman looking overwhelmed as she is checking her blood sugar

If you're struggling with feelings of confusion and isolation following a diagnosis of LADA, this article aims to provide clarity on understanding your condition, advocating for optimal care, and managing the emotional aspects of your journey.

Feeling Isolated with LADA or Adjusting to a Type 1 Diagnosis?

Deciphering LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults)

LADA, also known as Type 1.5, shares traits of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It's usually diagnosed in adults over 30 and develops gradually, resembling type 2 diabetes at first. However, it's caused by the immune system attacking pancreatic beta cells, similar to type 1 diabetes.

Diagnosing LADA

This process includes testing for specific autoantibodies like GAD antibodies, which distinguishes it from type 2 diabetes. Individuals with LADA are often lean and may require insulin therapy earlier than expected for type 2 diabetes.


Though LADA starts like type 2 diabetes, it progresses to insulin dependence like type 1 diabetes. While the timing varies, most people with LADA eventually need insulin therapy to manage blood sugar. Hence, LADA is viewed as a type 1 diabetes subtype, occurring later in life.

Treatment usually involves insulin therapy due to beta cell destruction causing insulin deficiency. Some may start with oral medications similar for type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, are essential, similar to managing type 2 diabetes.

Navigating the Journey

The journey from LADA diagnosis to managing type 1 diabetes is a unique voyage for each person and for some begins with a misdiagnosis. It may involve periods of adaptation, learning, and self-discovery as individuals navigate the intricacies of diabetes care.

Yet, with access to proper medical guidance, support from peers and healthcare providers, and a proactive self-care approach, those with LADA can lead fulfilling lives despite the challenges posed by their condition.

Listen to episode 45 "A LADA" Journey with Bernita Rose. She offered helpful advice for women managing diabetes through life's stages and menopause. Her message emphasizes the importance of seeking support and facing challenges with strength and faith.

Bernita shares her journey with LADA, from misdiagnosis to a transformative trip to Thailand. She discusses challenges with high blood sugar, medication side effects, and transitioning to a pump for better control. Bernita's story emphasizes the emotional and practical aspects of living with type 1 diabetes, emphasizing self-care and advocacy.

Transitioning To Type 1 Diabetes

As LADA progresses and insulin becomes necessary, individuals essentially transition into managing type 1 diabetes. This entails vigilant blood sugar monitoring, insulin administration, carbohydrate tracking, and lifestyle tweaks to optimize blood sugar levels.

While the diagnosis can be overwhelming, it also grants access to tailored resources and support networks for type 1 diabetes management.

Understanding LADA is vital for accurate diagnosis and effective management in adults. While the journey may present hurdles, it also offers opportunities for growth, resilience, and empowerment.

Getting Support

Getting diagnosed with a chronic illness can feel overwhelming, but having both medical and community support can make a world of difference.

It's essential to feel validated for the physical and emotional changes you're experiencing and to find inclusion in supportive communities.

Here are two communities you can turn to for support:

  1. DiabetesSisters Organization helps to educate, support and advocate for women with diabetes with resources and virtual meetings.

  2. Honey Health Diabetes App is a free community off social media that provided diabetes care and support groups for all areas of life with diabetes, (type 1, type 2, prediabetes, gestational, LADA, MODY)

By educating yourself and others around you about LADA, you can live a full and healthy life no matter what stage of diagnosis you are in.

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