If you have latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood (LADA), then you are at higher risk for developing nerve problems. For example, this includes numbness, tingling or pain.

More about latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood

Latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood is a form of diabetes that develops later in adulthood. LADA usually develops between 30-50 years of age. It’s a slow form of diabetes that occurs when your pancreas stops producing enough insulin in the body. It is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks insulin-producing cells. Because LADA can sometimes appear similar to type 2 diabetes, doctors often mistakenly diagnose LADA as type 2 diabetes. This is dangerous because when misdiagnosed, people with LADA do not start insulin treatment soon enough. This can result in poor glycemic control. We know that uncontrolled levels of blood glucose can lead to an increased risk for neuropathy. This is damage to your nerves that can cause numbness or weakness. So people with LADA have a greater likelihood of developing these types of nerve problems.

This study found that people with LADA have lower nerve fiber density than people with type 2 diabetes. This means that they may experience worse small fiber nerve damage than adults with type 2 diabetes. This can result in painful symptoms usually in the arms and legs. For example, this is sometimes characterized by painful burning feet. Small fibers are responsible for pain, sweating, and blood flow and are usually the first to be damaged. This study found that there were more people with obvious nerve damage in those with LADA compared to those with type 2 diabetes. Also, people with LADA usually had higher A1c level than those with type 2 diabetes. The fact that those with LADA are at greater risk for nerve damage should alert doctors to check for this. A correct diagnosis is very important in these cases.

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