Recognising the diversity of autoimmune diabetes in adults

Spiros Fourlanos



Type 1 or autoimmune diabetes can occur at any age and may present as rapidly or slowly progressive disease. The availability of robust islet autoantibody assays has enabled detection of different forms of autoimmune diabetes and given clinicians a greater appreciation for its varied presentations, including classic juvenile-onset type 1 diabetes, adult-onset type 1 diabetes and the more slowly progressive latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA).

Key Points

  • Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age.
  • Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) is a slowly progressive form of type 1 diabetes and is present in up to one in 10 adults with presumed type 2 diabetes.
  • Significant overlap exists between LADA and other types of diabetes.
  • There are immunoassays for specific islet antigens that enable recognition of autoimmune diabetes across different age groups and presentations of diabetes.