Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children, teenagers, and young adults, but it can appear at any age. This is because the pancreas produces little or no insulin, which is the hormone needed to allow blood glucose to enter our cells and produce energy.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. The body resists the effect of insulin, or it does not produce enough insulin for the body to maintain a normal glucose level.
Type 1.5 is an unofficial name that is sometimes used to refer to a form of type 1 diabetes called Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (also known as LADA). LADA shares similar characteristics shown in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1.5 is a slow-progressing form of autoimmune diabetes (similar to type 2), and it occurs as the pancreas stops insulin production (similar to type 2 diabetes). As a result, people who have type 1.5 often don’t need insulin for months or even years after being diagnosed, and it can not be reversed by making healthy lifestyle changes.
Type 1.5 Diagnoses
As mentioned above, type 1.5 diabetes occurs in adulthood and, for this reason, is often commonly mistaken for type 2. This is why getting a diagnosis of type 1.5 or LADA can be a lengthy process.
Specific treatments/medications used to treat type 2 diabetes (e.g., metformin) can also be used to manage symptoms of type 1.5 until the pancreas stops making any insulin at all. At that stage, many people discover that they actually had LADA all along and it was, in fact, not type 2 diabetes.
Unlike type 2 diabetes, the progression to needing insulin is much faster when dealing with LADA and the response it has to lowering blood sugars is very poor. People who are suffering from type 1.5 usually meet the following criteria:
– They are not severely overweight/obese
– They are over the age of 30
– They have been unable to manage their symptoms with medication, diet, or lifestyle changes
A fasting plasma glucose test, an oral glucose tolerance test, and a random plasma glucose test are some of the ways you might be tested to detect any kind of diabetes. Your doctor will determine which test is most appropriate for you.
Causes of type 1.5 diabetes
It’s important to start at the beginning and discover the differences between the other major types of diabetes before diving into the causes of type 1.5 diabetes. Because your body destroys pancreatic beta cells, type 1 diabetes is classified as an autoimmune disease. These cells help your body make insulin, the hormone that allows you to store glucose in your body. Therefore, people who have type 1 diabetes need to inject insulin into their bodies to survive.
The main symptom of type 2 diabetes is your body’s resistance to insulin’s effects. Insulin resistance is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including a high-carbohydrate diet, lack of physical activity, and obesity. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with lifestyle changes and oral medications, but many people will require insulin to maintain blood sugar control.
Damage to your pancreas caused by antibodies against insulin-producing cells can cause type 1.5 diabetes. A family history of autoimmune diseases, for example, may play a role in the development of the disease. In type 1.5 diabetes, when the pancreas is damaged, the body destroys pancreatic beta cells, just as it does in type 1. If the diabetic has type 1.5 diabetes, is also overweight or obese, insulin resistance might also be present.
Treatment for Type 1.5 diabetes
As type 1.5 results from your body not producing enough insulin and the onset is gradual, an oral medication used to treat type 2 diabetes can work to treat it, but this is a temporary fix. In addition, as your body slows the production of insulin, you will need insulin as part of your treatment.
Most people diagnosed with type 1.5 or LADA require the use of insulin within five years of the first diagnosis. Insulin is the preferred treatment method for type 1.5 diabetes, but there are many different types of insulin and insulin regimens.
Type 1.5 diabetes outlook
People with type 1.5 diabetes have a similar life expectancy to those with type 1 or 2 diabetes. However, high blood sugar over a long period of time can lead to complications, including kidney disease, cardiovascular problems, eye disease, and neuropathy. These complications can be avoided with good blood sugar control. Although there is currently no way to prevent type 1.5 diabetes, an early and correct diagnosis, and symptoms management is the best way to avoid any complications. With good blood sugar control, a normal life expectancy is possible.
Your dosage of insulin may vary daily, so monitoring and testing your blood glucose levels is the key to a long and healthy life