How to Differentiate Between Varying Types of Diabetes in Adult Patients

Identifying Types of Diabetes


  • Lauren Calnan Hillcrest Hospital South
  • Laura Holliday OSUMC
  • Kailyn Ogle Oklahoma Heart Hospital South
  • Jeremy Johnson Southwestern Oklahoma State University College of Pharmacy


            Diabetes is a condition that clinicians are faced with treating in a wide variety of practice settings. The great majority of cases are diagnosed as either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) is a form of diabetes comparable to type 1 diabetes in that it results from autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells and requires treatment with insulin therapy. In contrast to type 1 diabetes, LADA presents much later in life. Although type 2 diabetes is a commonly encountered condition, there may be instances where clinicians overlook cases of LADA that could easily be differentiated from type 2 diabetes. In other cases, none of these three types can be definitively diagnosed, implying there must be other types to identify.  The case presented illustrates an example of this, in which a patient was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes that was later suspected to be LADA or an undetermined type of diabetes. Initially thought to be rare, LADA is being identified more frequently. By bringing awareness to the disease, more patients will be aptly diagnosed sooner in the course of their disease so that they may receive the appropriate treatment.