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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 (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 >>
Practice Essentials 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. Signs and symptoms The most common early symptoms of DKA are the insidious increase in polydipsia and polyuria. The following are other signs and symptoms of DKA: Nausea and vomiting; may be associated with diffuse abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and anorexia 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: See Clinical Presentation for more detail. Diagnosis On examination, general findings of DKA may include the following: Characteristic acetone (ketotic) breath odor In addition, evaluate patients for signs of possible intercurrent illnesses such as MI, UTI, pneumonia, and perinephric abscess. Search for signs of infection is mandatory in all cases. Testing Initial and repeat laboratory studies for patients with DKA include the following: Serum electrolyte levels (eg, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus) Note that high serum glucose levels may lead to dilutional hyponatremia; high triglyceride levels may lead to factitious low glucose levels; and high levels of ketone bodies may lead to factitious elevation of creatinine levels. Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Not Always Due To Type 1 Diabetes
This article discusses how to diagnose and manage patients with ketosis prone type 2 diabetes Patients presenting with diabetic ketoacidosis may have type 1 or type 2 diabetes Diabetic ketoacidosis should be treated with insulin in accordance with nationally agreed guidance After treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis, patients found to have type 2 diabetes may not require lifelong insulin treatment Consider ketosis prone type 2 diabetes in older, overweight, non-white patients who present with diabetic ketoacidosis at their first presentation of diabetes; this diagnosis is also a possibility in patients with any features that are atypical for type 1 diabetes Discharge all patients on insulin and arrange for specialist follow-up Under specialist supervision consider whether insulin can be down-titrated on the basis of clinical progress and, where possible, C peptide and antibody measurements Who gets diabetic ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is not just the hallmark of absolute insulin deficiency in type 1 diabetes—it is increasingly being seen in people presenting with type 2 diabetes.1 2 This is at odds with traditional physiological teaching—that clinically significant ketosis does not occur in the presence of insulin concentrations associated with type 2 diabetes because there will always be sufficient insulin to suppress lipolysis (fig 1⇓).3 Current knowledge suggests that some people with type 2 diabetes may develop acute reductions in insulin production, which, coupled with insulin resistance, can cause DKA, usually without a precipitant.4 This is particularly so in African-Caribbean and other non-white ethnic groups.5 6 This potentially life threatening presentation of type 2 diabetes is referred to as ketosis prone type 2 diabetes (also Flatbush or t 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 >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)
Tweet Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a dangerous complication faced by people with diabetes which happens when the body starts running out of insulin. DKA is most commonly associated with type 1 diabetes, however, people with type 2 diabetes that produce very little of their own insulin may also be affected. Ketoacidosis is a serious short term complication which can result in coma or even death if it is not treated quickly. Read about Diabetes and Ketones What is diabetic ketoacidosis? DKA occurs when the body has insufficient insulin to allow enough glucose to enter cells, and so the body switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies. A high level of ketone bodies in the blood can cause particularly severe illness. Symptoms of DKA Diabetic ketoacidosis may itself be the symptom of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. Typical symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include: Vomiting Dehydration An unusual smell on the breath –sometimes compared to the smell of pear drops Deep laboured breathing (called kussmaul breathing) or hyperventilation Rapid heartbeat Confusion and disorientation Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis usually evolve over a 24 hour period if blood glucose levels become and remain too high (hyperglycemia). Causes and risk factors for diabetic ketoacidosis As noted above, DKA is caused by the body having too little insulin to allow cells to take in glucose for energy. This may happen for a number of reasons including: Having blood glucose levels consistently over 15 mmol/l Missing insulin injections If a fault has developed in your insulin pen or insulin pump As a result of illness or infections High or prolonged levels of stress Excessive alcohol consumption DKA may also occur prior to a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Ketoacidosis can occasional Continue reading >>
What Causes Ketoacidosis In People With Diabetes?
As a type 1 diabetic I am quite familiar (unfortunately) with the signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) results from dehydration, 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. This usually occurs in people with type 1 diabetes mellitus, but DKA 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. What Causes Ketoacidosis ? People with type 1 diabetes do not have enough insulin, a hormone the body uses to break down sugar (glucose) in the blood for energy. When glucose is not available, fat is broken down instead. As fats are broken down, acids called ketones build up in the blood and urine. In high levels, ketones are poisonous. This condition is known as ketoacidosis. Blood glucose levels rise (usually higher than 300 mg/dL) because the liver makes glucose to try to combat the problem. However, the cells cannot pull in that glucose without insulin. DKA is often the first sign of type 1 diabetes in people who do not yet have other symptoms. It can also occur in someone who has already been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Infection, injury, a serious illness, missing doses of insulin, or surgery can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis in people with type 1 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but it is rare. It is usually triggered by a severe illness. Hispanic and African-American people are more likely to have ketoacidosis as a complication of type 2 diabetes. Treatment Options Ketoacid 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 >>
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 >>
Frequency Of Ketoacidosis In Newly Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic Children
Go to: Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (TIDM). Many patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes present with DKA. The aim of this study is to determine the frequency and the clinical presentation of diabetic ketoacidosis at the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes mellitus in youths in hamadan, Western Province of Iran. The Clinical and laboratory data of a total of 200 patients under 19 years of age with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes mellitus between 1995-2005 were retrospectively reviewed. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS 11. Results 48 (24%)of the children were presented in a state of ketoacidosis. Sever form of DKA (pH≤7.2) was observed in 54.5% of patients. The mean age at diagnosis was 7.3±5.15 years in DKA group and 8.59±3.07 in non-DKA group (p=0.22). 60.4% of patient with DKA were female whereas in the non-DKA group, 53.3% of patients were female, the difference was not significant (p=0.38). The duration of symptoms before diagnosis was 14.84±8.19 days in patients with DKA and 22.39±2.27 in the non-DKA group, (p=0.11). No significant difference was found between the age, sex and duration of the symptoms and occurance of DKA. Polydipsia (85.4) polyuria (83.3%), weakness (68.8%) and abdominal pain (52.1%) were the most frequently notified symptoms among the patients. In two cases, diagnosis of DKA was preceded by as appendicitis and the patient underwent appendectomy. Conclusion Frequency of DKA at onset of type 1 diabetes mellitus was significant in the studied region. However, it was lower than other regions in Asia. Polydipsia, polyuria, fatigue and abdominal pain were the most common symptoms on presentation. 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 >>
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 >>