What is LADA?
Type 1, Type 2 Misdiagnosis More Common Than You Think
Since my first pregnancy in 2000, I've had a lot of diabetes diagnoses thrown my way: gestational diabetes, prediabetes, insulin resistance, and one doctor told me I even had type 2 diabetes. But I was young, thin, in good shape, and no one in my immediate family had diabetes, so a type 2 diabetes diagnosis made no sense. Yet, no one thought to test me for type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disorder, because I had none of the classic type 1 symptoms, like extreme thirst, weight loss, frequent urination, or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA),
Eight years later, while pregnant with my third son, it became clear that something more than gestational diabetes or prediabetes was at play. I was exhausted all of the time, and an oral glucose tolerance test performed very early in the pregnancy showed blood glucose numbers over 250."I want to be tested for type 1 diabetes," I told my doctor. My doctor agreed and ordered a test for the antibody GAD, a marker of type 1 diabetes.
I went to the doctor's office to receive the results of my blood test. I had indeed tested positive for the GAD antibody. "You have type 1 diabetes," he said. "But it's probably LADA."
"LADA?" I said. I was vaguely aware of the term, but I had no idea what it meant. It turns out, I'm not alone. While almost everyone has heard of diabetes, next to no one (including most people with diabetes) knows what LADA is.
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Because I wear my Dexcom on my arm, I’ve slowly adjusted to the fact that people will ask me about it. Sometimes it’s the rude and inquisitive “What’s that?” and sometimes it’s somewhat sincere curiosity “Is that a (insert random type of medical device that they assume)?” Sometimes it bothers me more than others depending on how they ask and how they respond once I’ve told them what it is. I have limits to how much myth-busting I want to do in everyday conversation and how much rudeness I can...