350,000 people are living with ‘new’ Type 1.5 diabetes – these are the signs to watch out for

350,000 people are living with ‘new’ Type 1.5 diabetes – these are the signs to watch out for
Do these symptoms sound familiar? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Four million people across the UK are living with diabetes – but many of them could be struggling with an incorrect diagnosis.

Individuals being treated for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes could potentially be living with a different form of diabetes, known as Type 1.5.

What is Type 1.5 diabetes?

You may know about Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, but there’s another form of the condition that falls somewhere in the middle.

According to Diabetes UK, “bits of it are more like Type 1, and other bits are more like Type 2”.

Type 1.5 is not an official term for the condition – it’s actually called Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood, or LADA. It’s a form of Type 1 diabetes that develops later in adulthood.

Due to its similarities to Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, it can mean that people get an incorrect diagnosis and incorrect treatment methods.

What are the symptoms?

Diabetes UK says that the symptoms of LADA are much the same as Type 1 and Type 2:

  • Passing urine a lot
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Getting really tired
  • Losing weight

As well as these symptoms, Diabetes.co.uk also outlines the following things to look out for:

  • Foggy headedness
  • Experiencing hunger soon after meals
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling nerves

Difference between LADA and Type 1 and 2

The key thing about LADA is that the symptoms tend to come on much more slowly than they do with Type 1 and much more quickly than they do with Type 2.

Diagnosing LADA can be difficult, and lots of people are diagnosed as having Type 2 diabetes by mistake.

“There are some clues that can give rise to a clinical suspicion of LADA rather than Type 2 diabetes,” says Diabetes.co.uk.

These are:

  • An absence of metabolic syndrome features such as obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Uncontrolled hyperglycemia despite using oral agents
  • Evidence of other autoimmune diseases (including Graves’ disease and Anaemia)

Also, if you have LADA, you’ll usually find antibodies in your blood that are generally found in people with Type 1 diabetes – you’ll be able to identify these using something called a GADA antibody test.

LADA is also usually diagnosed in people aged between 30 and 50 years old.

What is the treatment?

Diabetes UK says that “there isn’t a definite, agreed way of managing LADA yet”.

Usually, treatment will start with oral medications – often metformin – and then go on to insulin as the blood sugar levels start to go up.

Healthline says that insulin treatment is the optimal treatment for LADA.

This article originally appeared on our sister site Edinburgh Evening News