At 40, a Surprising Diagnosis: Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults
He did everything right, but Manny Hernandez’s blood sugar levels wouldn’t settle down. Then tests showed he had LADA, a type of diabetes he’d never heard of.
The numbers just didn’t make sense.
Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2002, Manny Hernandez tackled it with everything he had. “I switched to a super-healthy, low-carb diet. I trained for my first half-marathon. I lost 25 pounds. I took my medication faithfully. I was the healthiest I’d ever been. But my blood sugar wouldn’t stay in an optimal range.”
Hernandez kept exercising, though more moderately, after running the Valley of the Sun Marathon in Phoenix, AZ, in early 2003. He tried “pretty much every metformin-based drug combination and dose on the market.” Yet his fasting blood sugar levels wouldn’t drop below 150. “Something wasn’t normal,” he says.
Perplexed, his family doctor sent him to an endocrinologist who measured levels of diabetes autoimmune antibodies and C-peptide (a substance that correlates with insulin levels) in his blood.
The results: Hernandez didn't have type 2 diabetes at all. He had LADA – Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults. His immune system was slowly attacking his insulin-producing beta cells. And his insulin levels were low enough that he needed daily insulin shots.
Hernandez wasn’t alone. An estimated one in ten people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes actually have LADA. This form of diabetes is like slow-moving type 1. But it’s usually mistaken for type 2 because it happens in adulthood, and doesn’t require insulin right away. Like type 2s, people with Continue reading