Chronic complications in patients with slowly progressing autoimmune type 1 diabetes (LADA).
OBJECTIVE: To study the prevalence of chronic diabetic complications in patients with the slowly progressing autoimmune form of type 1 diabetes, also referred to as latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We evaluated factors associated with chronic diabetic complications in 59 patients with GAD antibodies (GADAs) and age at onset of diabetes >35 years and in 59 GADA-negative type 2 diabetic patients. The prevalence of chronic complications was further compared with the prevalence in 111 type 1 diabetic patients. RESULTS: The LADA patients had lower BMI (P = 0.04), waist-to-hip ratio (P = 0.02 for men and P = 0.03 for women), and fasting C-peptide concentrations (P<0.001) higher HDL2 concentrations (P = 0.04), and less hypertension (58 vs. 75%, P = 0.05) than the type 2 diabetic patients. These differences were even more marked in patients with short disease duration. The prevalence of retinopathy (51 vs. 56%), neuropathy (29 vs. 27%), and microalbuminuria (27 vs. 29%) did not differ between the groups. The type 1 diabetic patients had lower prevalence of neuropathy (13%, P = 0.02) and higher prevalence of retinopathy (76%, P = 0.002) compared with the other groups. Neither the prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD) (56 vs. 58%) nor cardiovascular mortality (7.4 vs. 12.4%, P = 0.2) significantly differed between the LADA and type 2 diabetic patients. In a multiple logistic regression analysis, glycemic control was associated with CHD (P = 0.02) in the LADA group but not in the type 2 diabetic group. CONCLUSIONS: Glycemic control is a stronger risk factor for cardiovascular disease in LADA patients than in patients with type 2 diabetes. This could be related to the lower prevalence of the metabolic syndrome seen in the former.