How Can Ketoacidosis Be Fatal

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Diabetic Ketoacidosis

The Facts Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a condition that may occur in people who have diabetes, most often in those who have type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes. It involves the buildup of toxic substances called ketones that make the blood too acidic. High ketone levels can be readily managed, but if they aren't detected and treated in time, a person can eventually slip into a fatal coma. DKA can occur in people who are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and have had ketones building up in their blood prior to the start of treatment. It can also occur in people already diagnosed with type 1 diabetes that have missed an insulin dose, have an infection, or have suffered a traumatic event or injury. Although much less common, DKA can occasionally occur in people with type 2 diabetes under extreme physiologic stress. Causes With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to make the hormone insulin, which the body's cells need in order to take in glucose from the blood. In the case of type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to make sufficient amounts of insulin in order to take in glucose from the blood. Glucose, a simple sugar we get from the foods we eat, is necessary for making the Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. nurseprnRN

    The hypokalemia comes when the patient gets treated with insulin, driving the glucose and K+ into the cells. The kidneys can't (and won't) move so much out through urine with the excess glucose to make for hypokalemia.

  2. Esme12

    There can be a brief period of hypoglycemia in the early stages of an elevated blood sugar (polyuria)....but by the time "ketoacidosis" sets in the Serum potassium is elevated but the cellular potassium is depleted (all that shifting that goes on)
    Diabetic ketoacidosis

  3. April2152

    So pretty much what we would observe clinically is hyperkalemia because the osmotic duiresis does not move serum potassium significantly?

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