How Can I Survive Type 1 Diabetes Without Insulin?
This week, Wil offers some thoughts on that universal question: “How long can I really go without insulin?” Please take a read; his findings might surprise you and even bust a myth or two. Jake, type 1 from Minneapolis, writes: I’ve had diabetes for 18 years and I had someone ask me a question the other day that I didn’t really have an answer to. The question was how long I would be able to survive without any insulin. I told them 3–4 days, but I don’t know if this is true. Any info from a cinnamon whiskey swizzling T1? [email protected] D’Mine answers: If Tom Hanks’ character in Castaway had been one of us, he would’ve never lived long enough to go half-crazy and end up talking to a volleyball named Wilson. OK, so that’s a mixed blessing. But I guess the lesson there is: don’t get washed up on a deserted island if you can avoid it. To be honest, like you, I had always pegged my zero-insulin survival time in the “couple of days” zone; but once I got to thinking about your question I realized that I didn’t know how I knew that, where I learned it, or if it was even correct at all. Now, as background for you sugar-normals, type 2s, and type 3sin type 1s like Jake and me, if we run out of insulin hyperglycemia sets in. That leads to diabetic ketoacidosis (known as DKA by its friends), which then (untreated) leads to death. Well, there are a number of variables, the most critical being: Are you really out of insulin, or just low on insulin? Some type 1s use basal insulin, which has some effect for a full day or more after the last shot. Others of us PWDs use pumps, and the insulin from the pump only lasts for four hours. The bottom line here is that if two type 1s were captured by terrorists (hey, it could happen!), and if the terrorists took away their in 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 >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka) - Topic Overview
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening condition that develops when cells in the body are unable to get the sugar (glucose) they need for energy because there is not enough insulin. When the sugar cannot get into the cells, it stays in the blood. The kidneys filter some of the sugar from the blood and remove it from the body through urine. Because the cells cannot receive sugar for energy, the body begins to break down fat and muscle for energy. When this happens, ketones, or fatty acids, are produced and enter the bloodstream, causing the chemical imbalance (metabolic acidosis) called diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis can be caused by not getting enough insulin, having a severe infection or other illness, becoming severely dehydrated, or some combination of these things. It can occur in people who have little or no insulin in their bodies (mostly people with type 1 diabetes but it can happen with type 2 diabetes, especially children) when their blood sugar levels are high. Your blood sugar may be quite high before you notice symptoms, which include: Flushed, hot, dry skin. Feeling thirsty and urinating a lot. Drowsiness or difficulty waking up. Young children may lack interest in their normal activities. Rapid, deep breathing. A strong, fruity breath odor. Loss of appetite, belly pain, and vomiting. Confusion. Laboratory tests, including blood and urine tests, are used to confirm a diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis. Tests for ketones are available for home use. Keep some test strips nearby in case your blood sugar level becomes high. When ketoacidosis is severe, it must be treated in the hospital, often in an intensive care unit. Treatment involves giving insulin and fluids through your vein and closely watching certain chemicals in your blood (electrolyt Continue reading >>
What Is Ketoacidosis And Why Is It Common In Type 1 Diabetes
Some people are admitted to the hospital for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) prior to being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This serious condition is often how people learn they have diabetes type 1. Learn more about ketoacidosis and why it is so common in type 1 diabetes. What is Ketoacidosis? Ketoacidosis happens when ketones (also known as fatty acids) are produced as the body burns muscle and fat instead of glucose for energy. DKA develops in people with type 1 diabetes when their blood sugar gets very high. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin and must take insulin to avoid complications such as ketoacidosis. If a person is hospitalized with DKA, they are given tests to measure the levels of glucose and electrolytes in their blood. The tests taken during a hospital stay might be used to diagnose type 1 diabetes. Symptoms of ketoacidosis can include confusion, labored breathing, thirst, dry mouth, vomiting and dehydration. Other symptoms may include flushed face, dry skin, fruit-smelling breath, headache, muscle aches, stomach pain and frequent urination for a day or more. If you have these symptoms, go to an emergency room immediately. If DKA goes untreated, the person may go into a coma. DKA is diagnosed with blood and urine tests. Treatment may include intravenous fluids if the patient is dehydrated and insulin therapy to suppress the production of ketone bodies. Ketone testing can be done in people with type 1 diabetes to screen for ketoacidosis. Ketone testing is done by using a blood or urine sample. Testing is typically done during an illness such as stroke, heart attack, pneumonia or when a person has vomiting and nausea. Ketone tests might be ordered when blood sugars are higher than 240 mg/dl in diabetes type 1. Ketone testing is usually done dur Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis Explained
Twitter Summary: DKA - a major complication of #diabetes – we describe what it is, symptoms, who’s at risk, prevention + treatment! One of the most notorious complications of diabetes is diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. First described in the late 19th century, DKA represented something close to the ultimate diabetes emergency: In just 24 hours, people can experience an onset of severe symptoms, all leading to coma or death. But DKA also represents one of the great triumphs of the revolution in diabetes care over the last century. Before the discovery of insulin in 1920, DKA was almost invariably fatal, but the mortality rate for DKA dropped to below 30 percent within 10 years, and now fewer than 1 percent of those who develop DKA die from it, provided they get adequate care in time. Don’t skip over that last phrase, because it’s crucial: DKA is very treatable, but only as long as it’s diagnosed promptly and patients understand the risk. Table of Contents: What are the symptoms of DKA? Does DKA occur in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes? What Can Patients do to Prevent DKA? What is DKA? Insulin plays a critical role in the body’s functioning: it tells cells to absorb the glucose in the blood so that the body can use it for energy. When there’s no insulin to take that glucose out of the blood, high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) results. The body will also start burning fatty acids for energy, since it can’t get that energy from glucose. To make fatty acids usable for energy, the liver has to convert them into compounds known as ketones, and these ketones make the blood more acidic. DKA results when acid levels get too high in the blood. There are other issues too, as DKA also often leads to the overproduction and release of hormones like glucagon and adrenaline Continue reading >>
How Does Diabetic Ketoacidosis Cause Vomiting?
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. 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 energy our cells need to function. People with diabetes can’t get glucose into their cells, so their bodies look for alternative energy sources. Meanwhile, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, and by the time DKA occurs, blood glucose levels are often greater than 22 mmol/L (400 mg/dL) while insulin levels are very low. Since glucose isn’t available for cells to use, fat from fat cells is broken down for energy instead, releasing ketones. Ketones accumulate in the blood, causing it to become more acidic. As a result, many of the enzymes that control the body’s metabolic processes aren’t able to function as well. A higher level of ketones also affects levels of sugar and electrolytes in the body. As ketones accumulate in the blood, more ketones will be passed in the urine, taking sodium and potassium salts out with them. Over time, levels of sodium and potassium salts in the body become depleted, which can cause nausea and vomiting. The result is a vicious cycle. The most important prevention strategies are to monitor blood glucose levels routinely, keep blood glucose levels controlled (e.g., Continue reading >>
Type 1 Diabetes Complications
Type 1 diabetes is complicated—and if you don’t manage it properly, there are complications, both short-term and long-term. “If you don’t manage it properly” is an important if statement: by carefully managing your blood glucose levels, you can stave off or prevent the short- and long-term complications. And if you’ve already developed diabetes complications, controlling your blood glucose levels can help you manage the symptoms and prevent further damage. Diabetes complications are all related to poor blood glucose control, so you must work carefully with your doctor and diabetes team to correctly manage your blood sugar (or your child’s blood sugar). Short-term Diabetes Complications Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is low blood glucose (blood sugar). It develops when there’s too much insulin—meaning that you’ve taken (or given your child) too much insulin or that you haven’t properly planned insulin around meals or exercise. Other possible causes of hypoglycemia include certain medications (aspirin, for example, lowers the blood glucose level if you take a dose of more than 81mg) and alcohol (alcohol keeps the liver from releasing glucose). There are three levels of hypoglycemia, depending on how low the blood glucose level has dropped: mild, moderate, and severe. If you treat hypoglycemia when it’s in the mild or moderate stages, then you can prevent far more serious problems; severe hypoglycemia can cause a coma and even death (although very, very rarely). The signs and symptoms of low blood glucose are usually easy to recognize: Rapid heartbeat Sweating Paleness of skin Anxiety Numbness in fingers, toes, and lips Sleepiness Confusion Headache Slurred speech For more information about hypoglycemia and how to treat it, please read our article on hy Continue reading >>
Can People With Type 1 Diabetes Develop Dka Without High Blood Sugar?
“Can people with type 1 diabetes develop DKA without high blood sugar?” DKA is short for diabetic ketoacidosis and is a life threatening condition. I’ve seen the question pop up a lot lately so I asked two endocrinologists to answer this question. Experts Weigh In Dr. Richard Steed, an endocrinologist from Georgia with 25 years of experience explained that, “Ketoacidosis will occur in anyone when insulin levels drop low enough. In people with diabetes, falling insulin levels will usually trigger a high sugar well before ketoacidosis starts, causing high blood sugar to typically go hand in hand with ketoacidosis.” Dr. Brad Eilerman, an endocrinologist from Kentucky explained that “Ketoacidosis occurs when the body over produces ketone bodies, typically in response to a lack of available glucose to use as intracellular fuel. In diabetic ketoacidosis, the rationale for the lack of intracellular glucose is a relative lack of insulin. Typically, this is associated with a high serum glucose because glucose taken in or produced by the liver has nowhere to go. If the patient has had a prolonged period of fasting to the point of protein calorie malnutrition, there may not be calories in order to produce glucose from the liver. This can lead to ketosis by itself. When combines with a lack of insulin, it can cause ketoacidosis,” writes Dr. Eilerman. Caution With Alcohol Dr. Steed writes that, “under the right circumstances, ketoacidosis can occur even in people without diabetes. Perhaps the commonest situation is starvation plus alcohol intake. In this situation, the starvation causes the body’s store of glucose as glycogen to become depleted. Then the body must depend on gluconeognesis (making glucose from protein) to sustain normal blood sugar levels. Alcohol w Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes Mellitusclinical And Biochemical Differences
Background Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), once thought to typify type 1 diabetes mellitus, has been reported to affect individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus. An analysis and overview of the different clinical and biochemical characteristics of DKA that might be predicted between patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes is needed. Methods We reviewed 176 admissions of patients with moderate-to-severe DKA. Patients were classified as having type 1 or type 2 diabetes based on treatment history and/or autoantibody status. Groups were compared for differences in symptoms, precipitants, vital statistics, biochemical profiles at presentation, and response to therapy. Results Of 138 patients admitted for moderate-to-severe DKA, 30 had type 2 diabetes. A greater proportion of the type 2 diabetes group was Latino American or African American (P<.001). Thirty-five admissions (19.9%) were for newly diagnosed diabetes. A total of 85% of all admissions involved discontinuation of medication use, 69.2% in the type 2 group. Infections were present in 21.6% of the type 1 and 48.4% of the type 2 diabetes admissions. A total of 21% of patients with type 1 diabetes and 70% with type 2 diabetes had a body mass index greater than 27. Although the type 1 diabetes group was more acidotic (arterial pH, 7.21 ± 0.12 vs 7.27 ± 0.08; P<.001), type 2 diabetes patients required longer treatment periods (36.0 ± 11.6 vs 28.9 ± 8.9 hours, P = .01) to achieve ketone-free urine. Complications from therapy were uncommon. Conclusions A significant proportion of DKA occurs in patients with type 2 diabetes. The time-tested therapy for DKA of intravenous insulin with concomitant glucose as the plasma level decreases, sufficient fluid and electrolyte replacement, and attention to associated problems remai Continue reading >>
If Society Started Collapsing Due To A Global Pandemic Killing More Than Half Of The World's Population Within A Year Or Two, What Would You Do When You Realized What Was Really Happening?
I teach disaster preparedness for the American Red Cross (national society) so this is a topic of particular interest for me. Here's a scary statistic that Kevin Reeve (who has taught the Navy SEALs and other Special Forces teams urban survival skills) shared with me: In the greater Los Angeles county, there are, between Federal, State, County and City agencies, about 25,000 law-enforcement sworn officers. In the same region, there are about 250,000+ known gang members, all operating within their own established chains of command with communication equipment, access to weapons, and organizational strength. If civil society breaks down and there is a showdown between law-enforcement personnel and gang members, who do you think will win? Even with their superior equipment and training, they are outnumbered 10x, and many cops under such duress will break and run with what gear they have on them, which means their true numerical strength is closer to 15k. The 2011 film Contagion (2011 Movie) explored some of the issues that this question raised. The fictional disease in the movie had a lethality ratio of around 15% and the subsequent chaos that resulted when the public hears about the pandemic was the real story. Cops would abandon their posts, fires will burn out of control and armed gangs will raid homes for food and other survival supplies. The best solution is the one that most of my friends in the disaster preparedness community have made steps to execute: get out of urban areas. Establish a known rally point miles from dense urban centers where family and close friends can gather and protect each other, grow your own food, and wait out the chaos that will inevitably cause the surviving 50% (in this hypothetical case) of humanity to turn on each other. The ideal rally Continue reading >>
All About Dka
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 and can often be mistaken for flu symptoms. It also occurs during the management of the disease when the body is not receiving enough insulin to break down glucose. This forces the body to start breaking down fat as fuel and ketones are then released into the body. Elevated ketones in the urine, severe weight loss, extreme thirst, blurry vision, lethargy and disorientation are all signs of DKA. If left untreated, DKA will lead to coma and death. Continue reading >>
How Does Diabetic Ketoacidosis Develop?
Diabetic ketoacidosis, DKA, is a serious, life-threatening condition that can cause a diabetic coma and possibly death. It develops when the body does not get enough sugar in order to produce energy because of a lack of insulin. This causes the body to start using stored fat for energy. According to WebMD, when the body cannot convert the sugar into energy, it stays inside of the bloodstream (WebMD, 2017). This causes the kidneys to filter some of the sugar from the blood into the urine. This causes ketones to be released from the breakdown of fat, making the blood’s pH level to become acidic. DKA is a condition that should not be taken lightly. It can cause several different problems inside of the body. It is very important that you take care of your body in order to prevent the development of DKA. How does DKA start? WebMD said, “Ketoacidosis can be caused by not getting enough insulin, having a severe infection or other illness, becoming severely dehydrated, or some combination of these things” (WebMD, 2017). There are things that you can control. Frequent communication with your doctor will assist you in determining how much insulin you should take and when. If you keep taking it consistently and on time, it will help immensely. It is difficult to control if you get a severe infection or illness. However, you do have control on how you will react. Do not be afraid to go to the doctor. Get the medical treatment that you need so it does not become much worse. DKA can also be caused by dehydration. Drinking water is a great way to prevent dehydration. Also, cutting out beverages like soda can also help a ton! Focusing more on water will also help you to cut out unnecessary sodium, trans fats, and sugars that you do not need. By drinking healthier, it will make yo Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>
If A Diabetic Person In A Remote Area Entered Dka, And Had A Vial Of Insulin But No Needles, What Other Methods Could Be Used To Provide Insulin? (type 1 Diabetes)
For those that don’t recognise the abbreviation DKA - it means Diabetic Keto-Acidosis, a serious imbalance brought on by very high blood glucose levels due to insufficient insulin, which the body uses to break down glucose in the blood to usable energy. In the absence of insulin the body begins breaking down fat for energy and releasing acids called ketones (principally acetone, just like the solvent used for nail polish remover.) This keto acid buildup starts playing havoc with the body’s systems, including the liver, the brain and the kidneys among others. If the level continues to increase, the body starts “shutting down” and one goes comatose and can eventually die. To partially answer the question, it’s reported that certain insulins can be absorbed through mucus membranes like under the tongue, the sinus walls in the nose and the anal mucosa. Opening the vial of insulin might prove to be rather tricky without breaking it, but I suppose it’s possible. Nonetheless, if the person is conscious a small amount of relief may be possible. If unconscious it’s going to be really rough, if at all possible. That person is in dire need of medical attention - quickly. Continue reading >>