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Type 1.5 Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention

What is type 1.5 diabetes?

Type 1.5 diabetes, also referred to as latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), is a condition that occurs in people with impaired pancreatic functions, especially with insulin production. It is a rare type of diabetes and an autoimmune condition. It may need insulin therapy as the disease progresses.

This diabetes shares some auto-immune characteristics with Type 1 diabetes; and some genetic and metabolic features with Type 2 diabetes. Some experts believe that this type is a subset of Type 1 diabetes, while others believe it is a continuum between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, it’s not hard to conclude that type 1.5 shared similarities with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Because of having bits of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, this disease is commonly called type 1.5 diabetes.

What are the symptoms? 

The symptoms of type 1.5 are like those of types 1 and 2 diabetes, including:

  •  Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Excessive hunger
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Tingling nerves
  • Itchy or dry skin
  • Frequent infections
  • Headaches 

What causes type 1.5 diabetes? 

It is primarily an autoimmune condition. The body mistakenly attacks its insulin-producing cells or organ, damaging the pancreas. This process causes an unstable balance in blood sugar levels because of the insulin deficit.    

Type 1.5 diabetes has a slow onset, similar to Type 2 diabetes. It is also important to note that factors like genetic conditions, poor lifestyle, and obesity are common triggers for both type 2 and type 1.5 diabetes. That is why, a lot of times, type 1.5 diabetes is misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes. 

What are treatment options?

Doctors usually prescribe oral medications as the first treatment for diabetes, similar to how type 2 diabetes treatment works. However, insulin shots become necessary as insulin production in the pancreas gradually deteriorates.

Healthcare professionals also believe that early insulin treatment can control diabetes. Nevertheless, additional research is necessary to support this claim and determine the best treatment approach for Type 1.5 diabetes. 

How to prevent?

There are no known measures to prevent type 1.5 diabetes. However, it is highly possible to control and manage the condition. Here are some ways you can follow:

  • Follow a proper and healthy diet. 
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. 
  • Exercise more often. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get enough rest or sleep. 
  • Manage your stress. 

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