Functional Endocrinology: Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults


Do you feel that you must have sweets after meals? Do you get light-headed if you miss a meal? Or feel that craving for sweets during the day? Does your body feels shaky jittery or have tremors? If you are experiencing any of these situations, you may be experiencing LADA.


Autoimmune diabetes is a heterogeneous disease that can arise at any age. Anyone with adult-onset autoimmune diabetes who does not necessitate insulin therapy for at least six months after being diagnosed may have LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood). LADA is a slowly progressing form of autoimmune diabetes, and it has been estimated that 20% of people are diagnosed with having non-obesity-related type 2 diabetes.

LADA occurs when the pancreas stops producing adequate insulin and slowly damages the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, harming the body’s function. It is clear, however, that the frequency of autoimmune diabetes among adults can be underestimated, and clinical features such as age and severity of symptoms are of no help in identifying patients that have LADA since there is still more research being done to treat LADA. The body mass index and C peptide levels in the general population can increase with age, and these parameters are of limited use in identifying LADA patients.

Different Types of Diabetes

In a person, diabetes is a condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood glucose, and roughly the estimated number of people over 18 years of age that are diagnosed and undiagnosed with diabetes is about 30.2 million. Without ongoing, careful management, diabetes can lead to a build-up of sugars in the blood, which can increase the risk of dangerous complications, including stroke and heart disease.

There are different kinds of diabetes, including LADA, that can occur, and managing the condition depends on the type of diabetes an individual has.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes, and the body does not produce enough insulin, and the blood glucose level remains high in the body. People with type 1 diabetes are insulin-dependent and must take artificial insulin daily to stay alive. The immune system attacks a cluster of cells known as islets in the pancreas that would typically produce insulin and stopping or slowing down the insulin production in the body.

When a person receives a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes from healthcare professionals, the islet cells are responsible for insulin secretion from the pancreas may continue to produce the insulin hormone for a while before ceasing. It can also lead to the production of LADA if it is not being monitored.

The physical effects of type 1 diabetes include:

  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Weight loss without an apparent trigger or causes.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common forms of diabetes and can appear at any age, affecting over 30 million Americans. It happens when the blood sugar levels rise due to problems with the use or production of insulin.

Studies show that most people do not experience the symptoms in the early stages of type 2 diabetes, and they might have symptoms for many years. For those that do have type 2, diabetes may have acanthosis nigricans. Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition that causes the skin to become thicker and darker. It often appears mostly on the neck, elbows, knees, knuckles, the folds around the neck and the groin.

Other early symptoms of type 2 diabetes that an individual may have included:

  • Frequent bladder, kidneys, or skin infections
  • Cuts that take longer to heal
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Urinary frequency
  • Blurred vision

Mixed Diabetes (Type 1.5)

Mixed diabetes or LADA is an autoimmune condition that shares the characteristics of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults. It is diagnosed during adulthood and sets in the bloodstream gradually; however, unlike type 2, LADA is an autoimmune disease and is not reversible if the person changes their diet and lifestyle.  It can be triggered by the damage done to the pancreas from the antibodies against the insulin-producing cells.

If a person has LADA, their beta cells stop functioning much more quickly than type 2 diabetes. Researchers have found out that an estimated 10 percent of people who have diabetes will have LADA. It stated that the treatment for LADA patients is far less elucidated than the cases for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Finding a treatment strategy for LADA can reduce the decline of beta-cell function, ensures adequate metabolic treatment so far.

Some of the symptoms that LADA patients may have include:

  • Frequent thirst
  • Increased urination, including at night
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling nerves

If LADA is left untreated, it can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a condition where the body can not utilize sugar as fuel due to the absence of insulin and starts burning fat. It produces ketones, which are toxic to the body.

Type 3 Diabetes

Type 3 diabetes is known as brain diabetes and has an established linked to Alzheimer’s disease. This type of diabetes is triggered by a type of insulin resistance and an insulin-like growth factor dysfunction that occurs specifically in the brain, causing dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease has characteristics histopathological, molecular, and biochemical abnormalities in the brain’s cell structure. Since it has been linked with type 3 diabetes, characteristic features of type 3 diabetes include impairments in insulin actions and signaling that result in chronic hyperglycemia, irrespective of subtype, etiology, pathogenesis, or insulin availability.


Autoimmune diabetes can affect anyone at any age. It can damage the pancreas walls to stop producing insulin to the body, causing problems for an individual. LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults) is an autoimmune disease that has the characteristics of type 1 and type 2 diabetes that are in adults. There is still more research being done to treat LADA, and there are products that can help support sugar metabolism and maintain blood sugar levels to a healthy range.

October is Chiropractic Health Month. To learn more about it, check out Governor Abbott’s declaration on our website to get full details on this historic moment.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal and nervous health issues as well as functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or chronic disorders of the musculoskeletal system. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .


Barhum, Lana. “Type 2 Diabetes: Symptoms, Early Signs, and Complications.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 16 Apr. 2019,

Castro, M. Regina. “Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA): What Is It?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 May 2019,

de la Monte, Suzanne M, and Jack R Wands. “Alzheimer’s Disease Is Type 3 Diabetes-Evidence Reviewed.” Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, Diabetes Technology Society, Nov. 2008,

Felman, Adam. “Type 1 Diabetes: Overview, Symptoms, and Treatment.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 19 Nov. 2018,

Hals, Ingrid K. “Treatment of Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults: What Is Best?” Current Diabetes Reviews, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2019,

Leonard, Jayne. “Acanthosis Nigricans: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Pictures.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 21 Dec. 2018,

MSN, Rachel Nall RN. “Diabetes: Symptoms, Treatment, and Early Diagnosis.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 8 Nov. 2018,

Pozzilli, Paolo, and Silvia Pieralice. “Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults: Current Status and New Horizons.” Endocrinology and Metabolism (Seoul, Korea), Korean Endocrine Society, June 2018,

Prelipcean, Maria S. “What You Need to Know About Type 1.5 Diabetes.” Healthline, 2 Nov. 2018,

Watson, Kathryn. “Type 3 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease: What You Need to Know.” Healthline, 16 Oct. 2019,

Wint, Carmella, and Marijane Leonard. “What You Should Know About Diabetic Ketoacid.” Healthline, 4 Dec. 2018,

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The information herein on "Functional Endocrinology: Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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