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“Type 1.5” Diabetes

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Q

What is type 1.5 diabetes? How does it differ from other types of diabetes?

A

Some researchers believe that type 1.5 diabetes is a subtype of type 1. Other research suggests that diabetes is actually a continuum, with type 1.5 falling between type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes, also called latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), is a slow-progressing form of autoimmune diabetes. With this disorder, the body’s own immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. As a result, the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin to control blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance—the body responds to insulin inefficiently and fails to keep blood sugar at a normal level. The vast majority of people with diabetes have type 2.

A person who shows attributes of both type 1 and type 2 is said to have type 1.5 diabetes. What initially appeared to be type 2 diabetes, because the pancreas is still able to produce a small amount of insulin, is actually slowly evolving type 1 diabetes.

Type 1.5 diabetes typically shows up at an older age—over age 30—than when type 1 diabetes is diagnosed. Type 1.5 is diagnosed through a blood test for antibodies. Diet, exercise and some oral medications may help keep the condition under control—but many type 1.5 patients require insulin within 10 years of diagnosis.

Source: Anne Peters, MD, professor of medicine and clinical diabetes director, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She is author of Conquering Diabetes: A Complete Program for Prevention and Treatment. Date: January 12, 2017 Publication: Bottom Line Health
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