When Wonder Sugar started to research and research to figure out the ‘Why’…
I know I deviated from the original story…let’s go back there again. I know… I know it’s confusing, but please bear with me. I’m a woman and as such I tend to start a story then get distracted by something or a spinoff story gets priority…I’m sure the ladies will empathize with me. We all do it! And eventually we all go back to the main story sooner or later… And here you go! I’m back to the original story line…for now 😎… A super quick recap: the first post was about how I came to know that I am diabetic (The Start); then I moved on describing my three key symptoms with next three posts (The Signs)… then I got distracted by COVID, my kidney issues with, my new diet… Life!
What is LADA? How it is different from the other type of diabetes?
I’m back on track now by revealing the question that I kept asking myself when they initially diagnosed me with LADA……and THE question I kept asking myself…Why me?
I keep reading different articles and to be honest sometimes I change my mind depending on what is happening in my life, but I try to keep it real and go back to the basic questions: What is LADA? How it is different from the other type of diabetes? Is there anything you can do to avoid it? Why are more and more people being diagnosed with diabetes each year?
Those are quite technical questions with complicated answers but even if I’m not a doctor I want to share my understanding. That might evolve with time, based on more readings and my daily life but I don’t think it will ever change my approach to my condition… keep fighting!
Before my diagnosis I always thought that there were two categories (and causes) of Diabetes: Genetics/DNA was the explanation for Diabetes 1 and too much junk food for Diabetes number 2.
Clearly that was an extremely simplified and superficial knowledge of diabetes but I don’t feel too guilty about it. How many of you already know that we can count up to 5 different type of diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes
Can be diagnosed at any age, but usually it is young children or teenagers
Requires an immediate need for insulin
Can be deadly if not caught in time
Type 2 Diabetes
Not an autoimmune disease
Can be diagnosed at any age, but is often diagnosed in adults
Can utilize other medications instead of or in addition to insulin
Diabetes during pregnancy
Develops in 2nd or 3rd trimester
Goes away after pregnancy
Treated through diet and exercise, and in some cases insulin
Increases risk for Type 2 Diabetes later in life
MODY Diabetes (Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young)
Strong genetic risk factor
Mimics type 2 diabetes
Usually develops in adolescence or early 20’s
It can be diagnosed in otherwise healthy adults
Does not always require insulin
LADA Diabetes (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood)
Also called Type 1.5
A form of Type 1 diabetes than develops in adulthood and at a slower rate than type 1
Sometime mis-diagnosed as type 2
On top of the above 5 diabetes types, some doctors hypothesize that Alzheimer’s could be called Type 3 diabetes due to the presence of insulin resistance in the brain in Alzheimer’s patients. This is a controversial topic and I haven’t really researched it yet. I will eventually do it ‘cause my Grandad had Alzheimer’s and the fact that there is an element of insulin resistance intrigues me.
We can count up to 5 different type of diabetes
As you know I have been diagnosed with LADA. It is not a very well-known form of diabetes and I initially had to deal with the fact that I was one of the few cases (not really few… It is estimated that 10% of people with diabetes have LADA), but I was also confused because in the hospital they kept asking if I had diabetes in my family history…while family and friends kept asking me ‘Why did you do this to yourself?’
Wait a second! Is LADA linked to genetics or to lifestyle? Why did the doctors ask about my family history, while my family believes that I could have avoided it??
Initially I wanted to think that it was only DNA. First of all, because I convinced myself that if this was the first question from the doctors, then that was probably the main reason, but to be fair I wanted to be convinced about it because it was releasing me from any responsibility…
But then I stepped back and looked at the facts. We know that Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and that is mainly due to genetics. It causes a reduced or absolute absence of insulin production by your pancreas and that is why the need to inject insulin on regular basis. We also know that type 2 diabetes it is NOT an autoimmune disease and that the main cause is lifestyle (food, exercise etc.) and can be managed by changing habits and therefore reduce insulin resistance.
LADA is a combination of the two, that’s why it is also called type 1.5. If I take my personal experience, I see the combination of the two types in several aspects of my life, starting from my medication patterns.
My pancreas still produces insulin; in a reduced quantity compared to what it should be but I still have some action happening down there in the pancreas 😊. As Doc. P said once ‘Your cells are fighting against your immune system but we do not know for how long they will be able to resist…’ . Now I understand that he was referring to what other doctors call a ‘honey moon period’, which is the period during which the pancreas still produces a minimal quantity of insulin (for more info see the Glossary!) Eventually my pancreas will stop producing insulin one day. The question is ‘ When’? And is there anything I can do to help my beta cells fight back??
Nobody was able to tell me for how long it will last. It can last 1 week up to… they really don’t know. So my hope is to find a way to extend it as long as possible, maybe till scientists will discover a way to cure us or if that will not happen ‘till I’m an old lady on the farm (very, very old ). The question is HOW? Doctors do not have a proven/final approved answer to this question either but based on many articles I’ve read, keeping a balanced blood sugar level, having a healthy BMI, exercise and in general a healthy lifestyle helped some people to extend the ‘honey-moon’ period for up to 15 years or more. Question: if we can help our body to extend the honey moon period then maybe is not only about genetics right? If it was set in stone in our DNA there would be nothing we could do about it… and this is where I see the first connection between LADA and type 2 diabetes. LIFESTYLE MATTERS! The second common aspect between LADA and type 2 diabetes that I have experienced is the insulin resistance part. Initially I was prescribed only insulin injections but my values were still extremely high, ‘till Doc. P introduced also Glucophage pills (is a metformin medication- see the Glossary!) That helps me to reduce the insulin resistance and therefore manage my blood sugar values.
Oh… I know you might be thinking that I deviated from the main topic of this post: Why me? The truth is that the combined nature of LADA kind of helped me to have an answer (my own answer…so please disregard if it does not make sense to you and listen to your doctor!).
Yes I might have a more delicate genetics, but if I didn’t push my body beyond any limit, with no respect for my sleep, my stomach, MYSELF, I might not have ended up in this situation.
Love yourself= eat what your body deserves, sleep the hours that you need, don’t let your work stress you out and even if you are a delicate flower you will do good