What You Should Know About Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious condition that can occur in diabetes. DKA happens when acidic substances, called ketones, build up in your body. Ketones are formed when your body burns fat for fuel instead of sugar, or glucose. That can happen if you don’t have enough insulin in your body to help you process sugars. Learn more: Ketosis vs. ketoacidosis: What you should know » Left untreated, ketones can build up to dangerous levels. DKA can occur in people who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but it’s rare in people with type 2 diabetes. DKA can also develop if you are at risk for diabetes, but have not received a formal diagnosis. It can be the first sign of type 1 diabetes. DKA is a medical emergency. Call your local emergency services immediately if you think you are experiencing DKA. Symptoms of DKA can appear quickly and may include: frequent urination extreme thirst high blood sugar levels high levels of ketones in the urine nausea or vomiting abdominal pain confusion fruity-smelling breath a flushed face fatigue rapid breathing dry mouth and skin It is important to make sure you consult with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. If left untreated, DKA can lead to a coma or death. All people who use insulin should discuss the risk of DKA with their healthcare team, to make sure a plan is in place. If you think you are experiencing DKA, seek immediate medical help. Learn more: Blood glucose management: Checking for ketones » If you have type 1 diabetes, you should maintain a supply of home urine ketone tests. You can use these to test your ketone levels. A high ketone test result is a symptom of DKA. If you have type 1 diabetes and have a glucometer reading of over 250 milligrams per deciliter twice, you should test your urine for keton Continue reading >>
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious condition characterized by high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), low insulin, and the presence of moderate to large amounts of ketones in the blood. It's a medical emergency that requires treatment in a hospital. If not treated in a timely fashion, ketoacidosis can lead to coma and death. While diabetic ketoacidosis (or DKA) is much more common among people with type 1 diabetes, it can also occur in people with type 2 diabetes, so ketone monitoring is something everyone with diabetes should understand. Diabetic Ketoacidosis Symptoms Signs and symptoms of ketoacidosis include: Thirst or a very dry mouth Frequent urination Fatigue and weakness Nausea Vomiting Dry or flushed skin Abdominal pain Deep breathing A fruity breath odor What Are Ketones? Ketones, or ketone bodies, are acidic byproducts of fat metabolism. It's normal for everyone to have a small amount of ketones in the bloodstream, and after a fast of 12 to16 hours, there may be detectable amounts in the urine. As is the case with glucose, if blood levels of ketones get too high, they spill over into the urine. An elevated level of ketones in the blood is known as ketosis. People who follow low-carbohydrate diets often speak of ketosis as a desirable state — it's evidence that their bodies are burning fat, not carbohydrate. But the level of ketosis that results from low carbohydrate consumption isn't harmful and is much lower than the level seen in diabetic ketoacidosis. When Should Ketones Be Monitored? Ketone monitoring is less of a concern for people with type 2 diabetes than for those with type 1 diabetes. This is because most people with type 2 diabetes still make some of their own insulin, making diabetic ketoacidosis less likely to develop. Nonetheless, people with type 2 d Continue reading >>
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus. Signs and symptoms may include vomiting, abdominal pain, deep gasping breathing, increased urination, weakness, confusion, and occasionally loss of consciousness. A person's breath may develop a specific smell. Onset of symptoms is usually rapid. In some cases people may not realize they previously had diabetes. DKA happens most often in those with type 1 diabetes, but can also occur in those with other types of diabetes under certain circumstances. Triggers may include infection, not taking insulin correctly, stroke, and certain medications such as steroids. DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids which produces acidic ketone bodies. DKA is typically diagnosed when testing finds high blood sugar, low blood pH, and ketoacids in either the blood or urine. The primary treatment of DKA is with intravenous fluids and insulin. Depending on the severity, insulin may be given intravenously or by injection under the skin. Usually potassium is also needed to prevent the development of low blood potassium. Throughout treatment blood sugar and potassium levels should be regularly checked. Antibiotics may be required in those with an underlying infection. In those with severely low blood pH, sodium bicarbonate may be given; however, its use is of unclear benefit and typically not recommended. Rates of DKA vary around the world. In the United Kingdom, about 4% of people with type 1 diabetes develop DKA each year, while in Malaysia the condition affects about 25% a year. DKA was first described in 1886 and, until the introduction of insulin therapy in the 1920s, it was almost univ Continue reading >>
What’s The Difference Between Ketosis And Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
Ketosis and ketoacidosis sound similar and are sometimes confused, but don’t mistake these conditions for one another. These involve two different sets of circumstances with considerably different outlooks. Both are triggered by an increase of ketones in the body, which are acids released into the bloodstream when the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. But it’s how the body responds to this increase that sets ketosis and ketoacidosis apart from each other. RELATED: How to Tell the Difference Between Good and Bad Carbs What Is Ketosis and How Does the Process Work? “Ketosis is a natural state that occurs when you start to metabolize fat instead of sugar,” says Michael Greenfield, MD, endocrinologist and chief medical officer at El Camino Hospital in Palo Alto, California. “It occurs often when people fast and use up the stores of sugar in their body." To understand ketosis, it helps to understand how the body burns energy. Carbohydrates and fat are both energy sources, and the body typically burns carbs (sugar or glucose) first, and then fat. If there aren’t enough carbohydrates in your system, it begins to break down fat for energy, which puts your body into a state of ketosis. While in this state, the body becomes a fat-burning machine. For this reason, ketosis is the goal of many diets, particularly those that restrict carbohydrate intake and rely on fat for energy, such as the ketogenic diet. Understanding the Relationship Between the Ketogenic Diet and Ketosis “The ketogenic diet is a high-fat (60 to 80 percent of your total daily calories), moderate-protein (10 to 15 percent of your total daily calories), and low-carbohydrate diet (less than 10 percent of your total daily calories) that forces your body into ketosis, where it burns fa Continue reading >>
In diabetes, blood glucose is not able to reach the body cells where it can be utilized to produce energy. In such cases, the cells start to break down fat to produce energy. This process produces a chemical called ketone. The buildup of ketones makes the blood more acidic. When the blood ketone level gets too high, a condition develops called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). It is a serious condition that can lead to coma or even death. DKA can happen to anyone with diabetes though it is more common in people with type 1 diabetes. In this article, well explore the causes, symptoms treatment options, and complications of this life-threatening condition. DKA results from inadequate insulin levels that cause the cells to burn fat for energy. Ketones are released into the blood when fats are broken down. In people with diabetes, an underlying problem often triggers the onset of DKA. The following problems or conditions may contribute to DKA: An illness where the body produces higher levels of stress hormones like cortisol or adrenalin; these illnesses have a countereffect on the action of insulin (conditions like pneumonia or a urinary tract infection are common culprits) Inadequate insulin due to missed doses or more requirements Less food intake (this could be caused by sickness, fasting, or an eating disorder; bulimia, for example, produces excess ketones) Medications like corticosteroids and diuretics Symptoms of DKA typically evolve over a period of 24 hours. Some symptoms to be aware of include the following: Long, deep labored breathing (affected person may be gasping for breath) Check your blood glucose levels if you develop these symptoms. If your blood glucose levels are above 240mg/dl (13.3mmol/L), check for ketone levels using a blood or urine ketone testing Continue reading >>
What Is Dka?
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a complication from diabetes that can be serious and life-threatening. DKA is often a common factor when first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, but also can occur during management of the disease. When the body is not receiving enough insulin to break down glucose, it forces the body to start breaking down fat as fuel. Ketones are then released into the body. Dangers of DKA DKA can lead to coma, or even death if the level of ketones in the body are high enough. Causes can include: Lack of insulin Consistent high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) Lack of food in the system due to illness/nausea Overnight low blood sugars (hypoglycemia) Infection Dehydration Symptoms & Warning signs of DKA: Early symptoms High levels of ketones in urine Very high blood glucose levels Frequent urination Extreme thirst More extreme warning signs Constant fatigue Flushed skin Nausea or stomach pain Vomiting Shortness of breath Fruity smell on the breath Disorientation How to test for ketones Ketone strips (urinalysis) can be purchased at any pharmacy. Follow the directions given in the instructions insert, and match the result on the stick with the accompanying color chart. When to test for ketones If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above If you have a flu or any other kind of virus (recommended to test every 4 to 6 hours) If your blood glucose levels are consistently higher than 240 mg/dl (13 mmol/L) When to see a doctor If urinalysis test shows high levels of ketones, or if you experience any extreme symptoms, contact a doctor immediately. How to prevent DKA DKA is prominent when you are ill, due to factors such as stress hormones and dehydration. To avoid going into DKA be sure to take precautions such as: Drinking lots of water Take the appr Continue reading >>
What You Should Know About Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a buildup of acids in your blood. It can happen when your blood sugar is too high for too long. It could be life-threatening, but it usually takes many hours to become that serious. You can treat it and prevent it, too. It usually happens because your body doesn't have enough insulin. Your cells can't use the sugar in your blood for energy, so they use fat for fuel instead. Burning fat makes acids called ketones and, if the process goes on for a while, they could build up in your blood. That excess can change the chemical balance of your blood and throw off your entire system. People with type 1 diabetes are at risk for ketoacidosis, since their bodies don't make any insulin. Your ketones can also go up when you miss a meal, you're sick or stressed, or you have an insulin reaction. DKA can happen to people with type 2 diabetes, but it's rare. If you have type 2, especially when you're older, you're more likely to have a condition with some similar symptoms called HHNS (hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome). It can lead to severe dehydration. Test your ketones when your blood sugar is over 240 mg/dL or you have symptoms of high blood sugar, such as dry mouth, feeling really thirsty, or peeing a lot. You can check your levels with a urine test strip. Some glucose meters measure ketones, too. Try to bring your blood sugar down, and check your ketones again in 30 minutes. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room right away if that doesn't work, if you have any of the symptoms below and your ketones aren't normal, or if you have more than one symptom. You've been throwing up for more than 2 hours. You feel queasy or your belly hurts. Your breath smells fruity. You're tired, confused, or woozy. You're having a hard time breathing. Continue reading >>
As fat is broken down, acids called ketones build up in the blood and urine. In high levels, ketones are poisonous. This condition is known as ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is sometimes the first sign of type 1 diabetes in people who have not yet been diagnosed. It can also occur in someone who has already been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Infection, injury, a serious illness, missing doses of insulin shots, or surgery can lead to DKA in people with type 1 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but it is less common. It is usually triggered by uncontrolled blood sugar, missing doses of medicines, or a severe illness. Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, And Complications
Diabetic ketoacidosis definition and facts Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening complication of type 1 diabetes (though rare, it can occur in people with type 2 diabetes) that occurs when the body produces high levels of ketones due to lack of insulin. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin. The signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include Risk factors for diabetic ketoacidosis are type 1 diabetes, and missing insulin doses frequently, or being exposed to a stressor requiring higher insulin doses (infection, etc). Diabetic ketoacidosis is diagnosed by an elevated blood sugar (glucose) level, elevated blood ketones and acidity of the blood (acidosis). The treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis is insulin, fluids and electrolyte therapy. Diabetic ketoacidosis can be prevented by taking insulin as prescribed and monitoring glucose and ketone levels. The prognosis for a person with diabetic ketoacidosis depends on the severity of the disease and the other underlying medical conditions. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a severe and life-threatening complication of diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the cells in our body do not receive the sugar (glucose) they need for energy. This happens while there is plenty of glucose in the bloodstream, but not enough insulin to help convert glucose for use in the cells. The body recognizes this and starts breaking down muscle and fat for energy. This breakdown produces ketones (also called fatty acids), which cause an imbalance in our electrolyte system leading to the ketoacidosis (a metabolic acidosis). The sugar that cannot be used because of the lack of insulin stays in the bloodstream (rather than going into the cell and provide energy). The kidneys filter some of the glucose (suga Continue reading >>
DKA is usually signaled by high blood sugar levels. The important fact to remember is that without enough insulin, the body cannot burn glucose properly and fat comes out of fat cells. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) – a condition brought on by inadequate insulin – is a life-threatening emergency usually affecting people with type 1 diabetes. Although less common, it also can happen when you have type 2 diabetes. DKA is usually, but not always, signaled by high blood sugar levels. The important fact to remember is that without enough insulin, the body cannot burn glucose properly and fat comes out of fat cells. As a consequence the excess fat goes to the liver and glucose builds up in the bloodstream. The liver makes ketoacids (also known as ketones) out of the fat. Before long, the body is literally poisoning itself with excess glucose and ketoacids. What causes DKA? A lack of insulin usually due to: Unknown or newly diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes Missed or inadequate doses of insulin, or spoiled insulin Infection Steroid medications An extremely stressful medical condition DKA is rare in type 2 diabetes – but can develop if someone with type 2 diabetes gets another serious medical condition. Examples of medical conditions associated with DKA in type 2 diabetes are severe infections, acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the insulin producing organ, the pancreas), and treatment with steroids. Symptoms of DKA include: Nausea, vomiting Stomach pain Fruity breath – the smell of ketoacids Frequent urination Excessive thirst Weakness, fatigue Speech problems, confusion or unconsciousness Heavy, deep breathing How do you know if you have DKA? Check your blood or urine for ketones. And if the test is positive, you will need immediate medical care. Treatment includes agg Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis - Symptoms
A A A Diabetic Ketoacidosis Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) results from dehydration during a state of relative insulin deficiency, associated with high blood levels of sugar level and organic acids called ketones. Diabetic ketoacidosis is associated with significant disturbances of the body's chemistry, which resolve with proper therapy. Diabetic ketoacidosis usually occurs in people with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes mellitus (T1DM), but diabetic ketoacidosis can develop in any person with diabetes. Since type 1 diabetes typically starts before age 25 years, diabetic ketoacidosis is most common in this age group, but it may occur at any age. Males and females are equally affected. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when a person with diabetes becomes dehydrated. As the body produces a stress response, hormones (unopposed by insulin due to the insulin deficiency) begin to break down muscle, fat, and liver cells into glucose (sugar) and fatty acids for use as fuel. These hormones include glucagon, growth hormone, and adrenaline. These fatty acids are converted to ketones by a process called oxidation. The body consumes its own muscle, fat, and liver cells for fuel. In diabetic ketoacidosis, the body shifts from its normal fed metabolism (using carbohydrates for fuel) to a fasting state (using fat for fuel). The resulting increase in blood sugar occurs, because insulin is unavailable to transport sugar into cells for future use. As blood sugar levels rise, the kidneys cannot retain the extra sugar, which is dumped into the urine, thereby increasing urination and causing dehydration. Commonly, about 10% of total body fluids are lost as the patient slips into diabetic ketoacidosis. Significant loss of potassium and other salts in the excessive urination is also common. The most common Continue reading >>
Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP more... Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is an acute, major, life-threatening complication of diabetes that mainly occurs in patients with type 1 diabetes, but it is not uncommon in some patients with type 2 diabetes. This condition is a complex disordered metabolic state characterized by hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, and ketonuria. The most common early symptoms of DKA are the insidious increase in polydipsia and polyuria. The following are other signs and symptoms of DKA: Malaise, generalized weakness, and fatigability Nausea and vomiting; may be associated with diffuse abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and anorexia Rapid weight loss in patients newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes History of failure to comply with insulin therapy or missed insulin injections due to vomiting or psychological reasons or history of mechanical failure of insulin infusion pump Altered consciousness (eg, mild disorientation, confusion); frank coma is uncommon but may occur when the condition is neglected or with severe dehydration/acidosis Signs and symptoms of DKA associated with possible intercurrent infection are as follows: Glaser NS, Marcin JP, Wootton-Gorges SL, et al. Correlation of clinical and biochemical findings with diabetic ketoacidosis-related cerebral edema in children using magnetic resonance diffusion-weighted imaging. J Pediatr. 2008 Jun 25. [Medline] . Umpierrez GE, Jones S, Smiley D, et al. Insulin analogs versus human insulin in the treatment of patients with diabetic ketoacidosis: a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2009 Jul. 32(7):1164-9. [Medline] . [Full Text] . Herrington WG, Nye HJ, Hammersley MS, Watkinson PJ. Are arterial and venous samples clinically equivalent for the estimation Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)
Diabetic ketoacidosis is an acute metabolic complication of diabetes characterized by hyperglycemia, hyperketonemia, and metabolic acidosis. Hyperglycemia causes an osmotic diuresis with significant fluid and electrolyte loss. DKA occurs mostly in type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM). It causes nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and can progress to cerebral edema, coma, and death. DKA is diagnosed by detection of hyperketonemia and anion gap metabolic acidosis in the presence of hyperglycemia. Treatment involves volume expansion, insulin replacement, and prevention of hypokalemia. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is most common among patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and develops when insulin levels are insufficient to meet the body’s basic metabolic requirements. DKA is the first manifestation of type 1 DM in a minority of patients. Insulin deficiency can be absolute (eg, during lapses in the administration of exogenous insulin) or relative (eg, when usual insulin doses do not meet metabolic needs during physiologic stress). Common physiologic stresses that can trigger DKA include Some drugs implicated in causing DKA include DKA is less common in type 2 diabetes mellitus, but it may occur in situations of unusual physiologic stress. Ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes is a variant of type 2 diabetes, which is sometimes seen in obese individuals, often of African (including African-American or Afro-Caribbean) origin. People with ketosis-prone diabetes (also referred to as Flatbush diabetes) can have significant impairment of beta cell function with hyperglycemia, and are therefore more likely to develop DKA in the setting of significant hyperglycemia. SGLT-2 inhibitors have been implicated in causing DKA in both type 1 and type 2 DM. Continue reading >>
Print Overview Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones. The condition develops when your body can't produce enough insulin. Insulin normally plays a key role in helping sugar (glucose) — a major source of energy for your muscles and other tissues — enter your cells. Without enough insulin, your body begins to break down fat as fuel. This process produces a buildup of acids in the bloodstream called ketones, eventually leading to diabetic ketoacidosis if untreated. If you have diabetes or you're at risk of diabetes, learn the warning signs of diabetic ketoacidosis — and know when to seek emergency care. Symptoms Diabetic ketoacidosis signs and symptoms often develop quickly, sometimes within 24 hours. For some, these signs and symptoms may be the first indication of having diabetes. You may notice: Excessive thirst Frequent urination Nausea and vomiting Abdominal pain Weakness or fatigue Shortness of breath Fruity-scented breath Confusion More-specific signs of diabetic ketoacidosis — which can be detected through home blood and urine testing kits — include: High blood sugar level (hyperglycemia) High ketone levels in your urine When to see a doctor If you feel ill or stressed or you've had a recent illness or injury, check your blood sugar level often. You might also try an over-the-counter urine ketones testing kit. Contact your doctor immediately if: You're vomiting and unable to tolerate food or liquid Your blood sugar level is higher than your target range and doesn't respond to home treatment Your urine ketone level is moderate or high Seek emergency care if: Your blood sugar level is consistently higher than 300 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 16.7 mill Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)
Short-term high blood sugars are rarely lethal. However, for people with type 1 diabetes and some with type 2 who are not producing enough insulin, periods of high blood sugars can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. The absence of insulin allows your blood to slowly become acidic. The body’s cells cannot survive under acidic conditions so the liver will try to help the cells that are starved for glucose and secrete glucose. When combined with dehydration, this process accelerates into a poisonous cocktail that undermines the heart, impairs the brain, and can lead to death in days. Prolonged high blood sugars can be caused by missing insulin doses, problems with an insulin pump, being sick with the flu or other illness, or eating more carbohydrates than your body has insulin to process. Who Can Develop Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)? People with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes can develop DKA. Most at risk however, are people with type 1 diabetes because they don’t make any insulin of their own and most people with type 2 diabetes do usually make some of their own insulin. Oftentimes DKA develops in people who have not yet been diagnosed with diabetes. Once diagnosed, people with diabetes can avoid DKA if they learn to recognize the beginning symptoms. How Do I Know If I Have Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)? DKA can develop slowly or quickly. At first, it mimics the symptoms of high blood sugar: thirstiness dry mouth frequent urination You will likely have high blood sugars and ketones in your urine (more on this below). If your body still doesn’t get the insulin it needs, your blood becomes more acidic. you will likely feel tired your body might start to feel very achy like when you have a high fever. When any of the following symptoms occur, your condition has likely pr Continue reading >>