How is latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) diagnosed?


Regardless of your age, if you are labeled as having type 2 diabetes but have no family history of diabetes and are not overweight, you may in fact have latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). Your doctor can check for this with a blood test for autoantibodies and c-peptide levels. These tests will indicate the amount of insulin you are producing (a low c-peptide level suggests LADA).

Researchers don't know whether latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) is due to the same underlying disease process as type 1 diabetes in children, and there are many LADA questions that still need answers. In attempt to standardize the definition of LADA, experts have proposed the following criteria:

  • People who are at least 30 years of age.
  • People who are positive for at least one of four antibodies commonly found in those with type 1 diabetes.

People should not be treated with insulin within the first six months of diagnosis.

Because they still produce some insulin, and because the disease usually occurs in people over the age of 30 without severe symptoms, many people with LADA are initially misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In fact, researchers estimate that as many as 10 percent of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have LADA. LADA can be distinguished from type 2 diabetes by antibody tests. People who are antibody positive have an autoimmune reaction similar to that of type 1 diabetes that is not found in type 2 diabetes.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.