There are many names that this type of diabetes has been called. The most common ones are latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA) and type 1.5 diabetes. Regardless of the name that is attached, it refers to when there is a slow onset of type 1 diabetes in adults.
Type 1.5 diabetes is different than the common types that we hear about. The interesting thing about type 1.5 diabetes is that it is, in essence, a disease where the body actually attacks itself. In this form of diabetes, the body unknowingly mistakens the pancreas as a foreign matter. As a result of this belief, it attacks the pancreas and begins to destroy it's beta islet cells , which are responsible for producing insulin.
One of the common occurrences is that patients with this disease are instead told that they have type 2 diabetes. The error rate for mis-diagnosing is as much as 1 in every 5 cases. These individuals are labeled type 2 based on their history and their symptoms, when in reality the only way to be sure of the type is through islet cell and GAD antibodies testing.
Another common misconception is that the patient has type 2 based on the fact that they are not obese. But research shows that individuals can have type 1.5 diabetes and still not be overweight. That's why all individuals who are not obese and present symptoms of type 2 diabetes should automatically be tested for type 1.5.
Treatment for LADA may or may not involve insulin or oral medications. The determination is based solely on the individual. Often, the condition can be managed through diet and exercise and , if applicable, weight loss.