In December, Nathan Mobley noticed he was thirstier than usual.
Mobley drank water constantly at work. He would finish two bottles of water about halfway through his 20-minute drive home, and then he'd want more. No matter how much water he drank, his throat was still dry.
“I just could not quench my thirst,” he said.
At first, he thought he was thirsty because of the dry weather, he said. But he was also tired most of the time, and needed to use the restroom more than usual. So he began looking online for an answer.
Everything he read told him his symptoms pointed toward diabetes. But he also knew he wasn't a likely candidate for Type 2 diabetes, the form that generally affects adults. He was slim, tried to stay active and avoided sugary foods like soda and candy, he said.
But Mobley, of Norman, was in his mid-30s at the time — too old to fit the model for Type 1 diabetes, which generally affects children.
In February, Mobley, now 35, was diagnosed with Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, or LADA, a type of diabetes that falls somewhere between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Known colloquially as 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, said Dr. James Lane, an endocrinologist at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center's Harold Hamm Diabetes Center.
Like Type 1 diabetes, LADA is an autoimmune disorder, a condition in which the body's immune system attacks insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. But unlike more common Type 1 diabetes, where the onset of symptoms is generally sudden and dramatic, patients with LADA may not experience symptoms for years after developing the disease, Lane said.
In some cases, he said, patients don't experience symptoms even when diagnosed. Many patients are diagnosed when their blood is tested for some other reason, he said.