I'm grateful to Manny Hernandez over at TuDiabetes for working to kick off a special awareness campaign this week just for adults diagnosed with what used to be known as "juvenile diabetes." At the time I was diagnosed, the doctors around me were sure it must be type 2 diabetes. I was in my late '30s, after all. Never mind that I'd shrunk down to skeletal size and gone into DKA! But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
About LADA Awareness Week:
In order to "help increase understanding and reduce misdiagnosis of latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA)," Manny's nonprofit Diabetes
Hands Foundation (DHF) and dLife are kicking off the first annual LADA Awareness Week for the D-community from Monday, Oct. 18 through Friday, Oct. 24, 2010.
If you want to participate, you can grab the badge for your own website at either of those resource sites.
Facts About LADA:
LADA stands for latent autoimmune diabetes in adults. It is a slowly-progressing form of type 1 diabetes, sometimes called type 1.5, that is diagnosed in adulthood. Like 'regular' type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune process of LADA destroys cells in the pancreas, requiring eventual insulin treatment.
"LADA is different and distinct from type 2 diabetes, yet people with LADA are often misdiagnosed because both occur in adulthood and share similar symptoms. Over
time, this misdiagnosis can result in out-of-control blood sugars, which can lead to serious and life-threatening diabetic complications."
The real goal of LADA Awareness Week is to help misdiagnosed patients recognize the signs of LADA and talk to their doctor about testing and treatment.
Thoughts From A (Wannabe?) LADA:
There's nothing quite like feeling healthy all your life, and then suddenly becoming insulin-dependent to shake up your world. In an earlier attempt to raise awareness, I wrote a little proclamation called "All About LADA" back in 2008 — still worth printing out and pasting to your fridge!
But you should know that there's a lot of confusion about LADA even in the medical and research world: how exactly is it defined? Read a fantastic guest post by journalist Catherine Price on that dilemma here.
That being said, I became unsure as to whether my late-but-violent-onset type 1 really qualifies as LADA at all. Nevermind, to me the acronym just means that I had this whole non-diabetic life until almost age 40, and then suddenly landed in the hospital and was thrust into the lifestyle of a person with type 1 diabetes. It changed everything.
Read 'My Own Definition of LADA' for details. If you read the comments, you can see that a bunch of us late-diagnosed types decided to go rogue. If the definition of LADA is gonna be interpreted so narrowly, maybe we need a new acronym, like perhaps:
OATNIES = Older Adults That Need Insulin Everyday Suddenly
ATNIES = Adults That Need Insulin Everyday Suddenly (dumping the 'older')
RODA = Rapid Onset Diabetes in Adults
Whatever you want to call it, please take this week to help spread the word about us much-ignored grown-ups whose pancreases poop out on them. Horton, please hear our who!