My Stages of LADA Diabetes

My Bobo Hydrangea flowers in the autumn

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Here’s a quick summary of where I’ve been and where I am now!  LADA diabetes is considered a progressive illness, in that overtime the pancreas will likely produce less insulin.

Stage 0: Before I was Diabetic

I had normal blood glucose test results.  Yes, during all my childhood, and until approximately age 30, my test results were 100% normal.  I never thought I would get diabetes.

I had a normal bodyweight when I was a child and a teenager, but in my 20s, like many people, I put on the pounds.   I went from weighing 120 pounds to about 165 pounds.  I was worried about this extra weight and found it difficult to lose weight.

Stage 1: Undiagnosed Diabetes

Then suddenly, I began losing weight.  I was looking good!!  Sure, I was thirsty a lot, but that wasn’t too unusual… or was it?  I was peeing a lot too.  But, the thirst was worse.

The weight loss was really good, wasn’t it?  It took me awhile before I realized that these were all symptoms of diabetes.  Losing weight was a sign that I was sick.

Stage 2: Misdiagnosed Diabetes

Like a lot of people with LADA diabetes, I was treated with Metformin and other oral medications.  These medications are primarily for treating Type 2 Diabetes.   LADA diabetes is often misdiagnosed as Type 2 Diabetes.

LADA diabetes is supposed to be treated like Type 1.  Insulin is the correct treatment.  Insulin is what my body needed.  But, Metformin was cheap and it actually did work for awhile.  But, I had to eat a super low carb diet and exercise all of the time, and then over time, the Metformin stopped working too.

When the oral medications stopped working, I went to see an endocrinologist and she diagnosed me with LADA Diabetes, to be treated as Type 1.

I had experienced the end of the “honeymoon” phase, as doctors call it.   At first, other diabetes treatments like a diet change, exercise, or medications, may work because your pancreas is still producing insulin.

Stage 3: Insulin, 1-2x a Day

My body was still making some insulin, so my doctor just prescribed the long lasting form of insulin, for me to take twice a day.   Morning and night, I gave myself injections, and my blood glucose did better, and my A1C got better too, but I noticed that after meals, it was usually high…

I started to wonder how high should it be going after meals?  Am I getting the right treatment?  Around this time, I switched doctors and I raised this concern to my new endocrinologist.  She prescribed a quick acting form of insulin to use in addition to the long lasting type.

Stage 4: Insulin at Meals too

Yeah, so it was obvious to me that my body needed even more insulin.  My new doctor prescribed quick acting insulin for mealtime injections.  For the first time, I have more control over my diabetes… When it’s high, I can inject quick acting insulin.  Up until this point, my only “solution” was to eat less and exercise which would gradually reduce my blood glucose.

Stage 5: Insulin Pump and I start thinking of myself as Type 1

At this point, I feel like there’s little difference between me and someone with Type 1, except that I don’t require as much insulin as some people… but even though I only require 2 units of insulin for a 45 carb meal, I have to do everything that anyone else with Type 1 has to do.  So yeah, I’ve got LADA but I’m fully in the Type 1 world now.

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