This is a new one on me – and that doesn’t happen very often! Diabetes 1.5, termed LADA – latent autoimmune disease of adulthood. Never heard of it!
I am currently doing some training on blood sugar control and diabetes so I’ll learn more about it, but you might have LADA, or Diabetes type 1.5 if the following describes you:
LADA affects an estimated 10 to 25 percent of people who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and is also called type 1.5 diabetes. These individuals are rarely caught by the standard health care model and instead are told to eat a diet that only worsens the damage to their pancreas over time.
LADA can also affect people who have not been diagnosed with diabetes but who have difficulty managing their blood sugar despite “doing everything right.” They typically suffer from a vicious cycle of insulin resistance as well as immune triggers that worsen their blood sugar, such as food intolerances, cross-reactive food intolerances, environmental toxin sensitivities, and viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections.
In these cases, a personalized lifestyle medicine approach is the best way to help patients manage their blood sugar. The diabetes diet recommended by registered dieticians can worsen autoimmunity in the case of LADA or other types of autoimmunity as it contains foods that commonly trigger autoimmune reactions, such as gluten.
Three signs that LADA may be an issue
How do you know if LADA may be an issue in the case of type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance?
Diabetes and high blood sugar don’t make sense. The patient is slender or only slightly overweight, they exercise regularly, they do not eat a junk food diet, and they do not excessively indulge in sugars or starchy carbs. Yet they can never seem to keep their high blood sugar under control.
They have another autoimmune disease. Another strong clue is the patient already has another autoimmune disease, such as celiac disease or Hashimoto’s.
They are athletic or physically active. Typically, people who struggle with high blood sugar are also sedentary. People with LADA may actually be quite athletic or regularly physically active, yet they can’t keep their blood sugar down. Physical activity sensitizes insulin receptors and is an important strategy in managing blood sugar. When someone who is already physically active has high blood sugar, autoimmunity should be investigated.
If you see these red flags, you should always evaluate your patient’s blood sugar imbalance from an autoimmune perspective. Studies show certain auto-antibodies indicate a high risk for the progression to an insulin-dependent state.
Ooh, this is me. I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) which is renowned for buggering up your blood sugar so I’ve always assumed it was that. I have a brilliant diet – albeit my restrictions make it so! – I’m active (sort of, not so much currently) and I meditate every day. Yet my blood sugar swings like a chimpanzee.
I shall be investigating more closely – and I’ll come back to you with more on this soon.