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University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center treats Norman man for rare form of diabetes

Nathan Mobley, of Norman, was diagnosed in February with Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, also known as LADA or simply Type 1.5 diabetes. The disease is essentially a form of Type 1 diabetes that doesn't present itself until the patient is an adult.
by Silas Allen Modified: July 31, 2013 at 8:30 pm •  Published: July 30, 2013

It's also possible for a person to carry the genes for LADA and never experience symptoms, Lane said. Like Type 1 diabetes, LADA is caused by genes the patient inherits and then triggered by some environmental factor, like a virus or chemical the patient encounters.

Scientists don't know exactly why patients with LADA are able to produce insulin for so much longer than those with Type 1 diabetes, Lane said. The disease isn't well known or understood, he said, and patients who have it are often diagnosed as having Type 2 diabetes because of their age, he said.

That misdiagnosis can cause problems for patients, Lane said. Patients with Type 2 diabetes are often able to manage their disease with a combination of pills, diet and exercise, he said. But most patients with LADA will eventually need insulin, he said, so patients who are misdiagnosed often wind up frustrated when they don't see results.

Among the other questions they're seeking to answer, researchers are trying to find out whether LADA patients who start taking insulin see any difference from those who try to manage the disease through diet and exercise before using insulin.

Since his diagnosis, Mobley developed a better understanding of food, and tries to a better job of balancing proteins, carbohydrates and fats, he said. For now, he's managing his symptoms by exercising more and watching his diet closely.

That's a difficult task, he said — even before his diagnosis, he was active and ate well. But even that healthy lifestyle couldn't help him avoid the disease, he said.

“Sometimes, you can't help it,” he said. “Sometimes, it's in your genes.”

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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