Everything You Need To Know About Type 1.5 Diabetes
What Is Type 1.5 Diabetes?
Type 1.5 diabetes is a slow, progressing form of autoimmune diabetes, and it is a form of type 1 diabetes that also has features of type 2 diabetes. Some experts connect it to type 1 diabetes, while others refer to 1.5 diabetes as a separate condition. It is referred to as latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) or late-onset diabetes.
Not every clinical diagnosis is accurate. Misdiagnosis is more common, especially in 1.5 diabetes, since it has similar features. People are often misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes when they might actually have type 1.5 diabetes. This type of diabetes can occur at any age, but people who are diagnosed with this condition are often said to be above 30 years of age.
How Is It Different From Other Types Of Diabetes?
Type 1.5 diabetes is similar to type 1 since both are autoimmune, and the symptoms of 1.5 diabetes resemble that of type 2 diabetes. The metabolic and physical characteristics of Type 1.5 diabetes is similar to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes mellitus type 1.5 falls somewhere between type 1 and 2, but how is it different from the other 2 types? Let us find out.
People who do not require insulin therapy for at least 6 months after the diagnosis of diabetes are said to have type 1.5 diabetes. With time, the beta cells of your pancreas stop producing sufficient insulin hormones to carry out metabolism. But unlike type 1 diabetes, your body does not depend on insulin injections right away.
Type 1 diabetes occurs in childhood due to a lack of insulin production, whereas type 1.5 diabetes occurs in adulthood. In 1.5 diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas function normally at the time of diagnosis. The damage to beta cells takes place over time, and hence the progression of this condition is also slow. Thus, people diagnosed with this type are often aged above 30 years.
- Genetic factors: Latent autoimmune diabetes is associated with changes in genes that support the immune response. Variations in genes like STAT4, PTPN22, CTLA4, HLA, etc., trigger the immune system to perceive its own cells as a foreign body and result in an autoimmune condition. Notably, the INS gene delivers instructions to produce insulin hormone, and changes in this gene determine the rate at which 1.5 diabetes progresses.
- Metabolic syndrome: The presence of obesity, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels constitute metabolic syndrome. These syndromes often lead to insulin resistance, i.e., a condition where your pancreas produces insulin, but your body does not accept it.
Symptoms Of Type 1.5 Diabetes Mellitus:
The symptoms of 1.5 diabetes are vague. As the condition progresses, the body’s ability to produce insulin decreases. Hence, the signs that present will resemble that of type 2 diabetes. Some of the commonly occurring symptoms include:
- Feeling tired after meals or in general
- Feeling hungry after meals
- Foggy headedness
- Mood changes and irritability
- Increased thirst
- Excessive urination
- Tingling sensation in the hands and feet
- Unusual weight loss
How Is Type 1.5 Diabetes Diagnosed?
Since the features are similar to type 2 diabetes, your physician would suggest a regular blood glucose test. The result is positive when the HbA1c value is greater than 6.5%, and blood glucose levels are higher than 126mg/dl. Antibody testing is the best way to confirm 1.5 diabetes once your blood glucose test shows a positive result.
In contrast to type 2 diabetes, the fasting C peptide values will be lower in 1.5 diabetes mellitus. C-peptide is an indicator of how well the beta cells of the pancreas are functioning.
The initial approach to manage type 1.5 diabetes is through lifestyle modifications. Incorporating small changes like weight reduction through exercise and diet. You will be advised to reduce your intake of foods rich in sugar content. The management strategy is to preserve your insulin production for better metabolic control.
But as your pancreas cells that produce insulin get damaged, you might need medications. Some medications that help in managing 1.5 diabetes are:
- Metformin, thiazolidinediones: These medicines improve the sensitivity of insulin. It is used for long-term control of blood sugar, blood cholesterol and weight reduction.
- Insulin injections: Your body might not require an external insulin supply for the first few months of diagnosis. However, insulin injections could help preserve your beta cell function and slow down the progression of the disease.
- Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors: This category includes medicines like Saxagliptin, sitagliptin, etc. It preserves the C-peptide levels and controls blood sugar levels.
Glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist: Under this category of antidiabetic medications, Dulaglutide improves the symptoms by lowering glycated haemoglobin and blood sugar levels. It improves the beta-cell function without pushing the body to a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) state.