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Diabetic Ketoacidosis - Symptoms

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

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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 >>

What You Should Know About Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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 >>

Ketones: Clearing Up The Confusion

Ketones: Clearing Up The Confusion

Ketones, ketosis, ketoacidosis, DKA…these are words that you’ve probably heard at one point or another, and you might be wondering what they mean and if you need to worry about them at all, especially if you have diabetes. This week, we’ll explore the mysterious world of ketones, including if and how they may affect you. Ketones — what are they? Ketones are a type of acid that the body can form if there’s not enough carbohydrate to be burned for energy (yes, you do need carbs for fuel). Without enough carb, the body turns to another energy source: fat. Ketones are made in the liver from fat breakdown. This is called ketogenesis. People who don’t have diabetes can form ketones. This might occur if a person does extreme exercise, has an eating disorder, is fasting (not eating), or is following a low-carbohydrate diet. This is called ketosis and it’s a normal response to starvation. In a person who has diabetes, ketones form for the same reason (not enough carb for energy), but this often occurs because there isn’t enough insulin available to help move carb (in the form of glucose) from the bloodstream to the cells to be used for energy. Again, the body scrambles to find an alternate fuel source in the form of fat. You might be thinking that it’s a good thing to burn fat for fuel. However, for someone who has diabetes, ketosis can quickly become dangerous if it occurs due to a continued lack of insulin (the presence of ketones along with “normal” blood sugar levels is not necessarily a cause for concern). In the absence of insulin (which can occur if someone doesn’t take their insulin or perhaps uses an insulin pump and the pump has a malfunction, for example), fat cells continue to release fat into the circulation; the liver then continues to churn Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka) - Topic Overview

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 >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

A Preventable Crisis People who have had diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, will tell you it’s worse than any flu they’ve ever had, describing an overwhelming feeling of lethargy, unquenchable thirst, and unrelenting vomiting. “It’s sort of like having molasses for blood,” says George. “Everything moves so slow, the mouth can feel so dry, and there is a cloud over your head. Just before diagnosis, when I was in high school, I would get out of a class and go to the bathroom to pee for about 10–12 minutes. Then I would head to the water fountain and begin drinking water for minutes at a time, usually until well after the next class had begun.” George, generally an upbeat person, said that while he has experienced varying degrees of DKA in his 40 years or so of having diabetes, “…at its worst, there is one reprieve from its ill feeling: Unfortunately, that is a coma.” But DKA can be more than a feeling of extreme discomfort, and it can result in more than a coma. “It has the potential to kill,” says Richard Hellman, MD, past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. “DKA is a medical emergency. It’s the biggest medical emergency related to diabetes. It’s also the most likely time for a child with diabetes to die.” DKA occurs when there is not enough insulin in the body, resulting in high blood glucose; the person is dehydrated; and too many ketones are present in the bloodstream, making it acidic. The initial insulin deficit is most often caused by the onset of diabetes, by an illness or infection, or by not taking insulin when it is needed. Ketones are your brain’s “second-best fuel,” Hellman says, with glucose being number one. If you don’t have enough glucose in your cells to supply energy to your brain, yo Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus.[1] Signs and symptoms may include vomiting, abdominal pain, deep gasping breathing, increased urination, weakness, confusion, and occasionally loss of consciousness.[1] A person's breath may develop a specific smell.[1] Onset of symptoms is usually rapid.[1] In some cases people may not realize they previously had diabetes.[1] DKA happens most often in those with type 1 diabetes, but can also occur in those with other types of diabetes under certain circumstances.[1] Triggers may include infection, not taking insulin correctly, stroke, and certain medications such as steroids.[1] DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids which produces acidic ketone bodies.[3] DKA is typically diagnosed when testing finds high blood sugar, low blood pH, and ketoacids in either the blood or urine.[1] The primary treatment of DKA is with intravenous fluids and insulin.[1] Depending on the severity, insulin may be given intravenously or by injection under the skin.[3] Usually potassium is also needed to prevent the development of low blood potassium.[1] Throughout treatment blood sugar and potassium levels should be regularly checked.[1] Antibiotics may be required in those with an underlying infection.[6] In those with severely low blood pH, sodium bicarbonate may be given; however, its use is of unclear benefit and typically not recommended.[1][6] Rates of DKA vary around the world.[5] 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.[1][5] DKA was first described in 1886 and, until the introduction of insulin therapy in the 1920s, it was almost univ Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Patient professional reference Professional Reference articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use. You may find the Pre-diabetes (Impaired Glucose Tolerance) article more useful, or one of our other health articles. See also the separate Childhood Ketoacidosis article. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a medical emergency with a significant morbidity and mortality. It should be diagnosed promptly and managed intensively. DKA is characterised by hyperglycaemia, acidosis and ketonaemia:[1] Ketonaemia (3 mmol/L and over), or significant ketonuria (more than 2+ on standard urine sticks). Blood glucose over 11 mmol/L or known diabetes mellitus (the degree of hyperglycaemia is not a reliable indicator of DKA and the blood glucose may rarely be normal or only slightly elevated in DKA). Bicarbonate below 15 mmol/L and/or venous pH less than 7.3. However, hyperglycaemia may not always be present and low blood ketone levels (<3 mmol/L) do not always exclude DKA.[2] Epidemiology DKA is normally seen in people with type 1 diabetes. Data from the UK National Diabetes Audit show a crude one-year incidence of 3.6% among people with type 1 diabetes. In the UK nearly 4% of people with type 1 diabetes experience DKA each year. About 6% of cases of DKA occur in adults newly presenting with type 1 diabetes. About 8% of episodes occur in hospital patients who did not primarily present with DKA.[2] However, DKA may also occur in people with type 2 diabetes, although people with type 2 diabetes are much more likely to have a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state. Ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes tends to be more common in older, overweight, non-white people with type 2 diabetes, and DKA may be their Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Evaluation And Treatment

Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Evaluation And Treatment

Diabetic ketoacidosis is characterized by a serum glucose level greater than 250 mg per dL, a pH less than 7.3, a serum bicarbonate level less than 18 mEq per L, an elevated serum ketone level, and dehydration. Insulin deficiency is the main precipitating factor. Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur in persons of all ages, with 14 percent of cases occurring in persons older than 70 years, 23 percent in persons 51 to 70 years of age, 27 percent in persons 30 to 50 years of age, and 36 percent in persons younger than 30 years. The case fatality rate is 1 to 5 percent. About one-third of all cases are in persons without a history of diabetes mellitus. Common symptoms include polyuria with polydipsia (98 percent), weight loss (81 percent), fatigue (62 percent), dyspnea (57 percent), vomiting (46 percent), preceding febrile illness (40 percent), abdominal pain (32 percent), and polyphagia (23 percent). Measurement of A1C, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, serum glucose, electrolytes, pH, and serum ketones; complete blood count; urinalysis; electrocardiography; and calculation of anion gap and osmolar gap can differentiate diabetic ketoacidosis from hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, gastroenteritis, starvation ketosis, and other metabolic syndromes, and can assist in diagnosing comorbid conditions. Appropriate treatment includes administering intravenous fluids and insulin, and monitoring glucose and electrolyte levels. Cerebral edema is a rare but severe complication that occurs predominantly in children. Physicians should recognize the signs of diabetic ketoacidosis for prompt diagnosis, and identify early symptoms to prevent it. Patient education should include information on how to adjust insulin during times of illness and how to monitor glucose and ketone levels, as well as i Continue reading >>

How Dka Happens And What To Do About It

How Dka Happens And What To Do About It

Certified Diabetes Educator Gary Scheiner offers an overview of diabetic ketoacidosis. (excerpted from Think Like A Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes With Insulin by Gary Scheiner MS, CDE, DaCapo Press, 2011) Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a condition in which the blood becomes highly acidic as a result of dehydration and excessive ketone (acid) production. When bodily fluids become acidic, some of the body’s systems stop functioning properly. It is a serious condition that will make you violently ill and it can kill you. The primary cause of DKA is a lack of working insulin in the body. Most of the body’s cells burn primarily sugar (glucose) for energy. Many cells also burn fat, but in much smaller amounts. Glucose happens to be a very “clean” form of energy—there are virtually no waste products left over when you burn it up. Fat, on the other hand, is a “dirty” source of energy. When fat is burned, there are waste products produced. These waste products are called “ketones.” Ketones are acid molecules that can pollute the bloodstream and affect the body’s delicate pH balance if produced in large quantities. Luckily, we don’t tend to burn huge amounts of fat at one time, and the ketones that are produced can be broken down during the process of glucose metabolism. Glucose and ketones can “jump into the fire” together. It is important to have an ample supply of glucose in the body’s cells. That requires two things: sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream, and insulin to shuttle the sugar into the cells. A number of things would start to go wrong if you have no insulin in the bloodstream: Without insulin, glucose cannot get into the body’s cells. As a result, the cells begin burning large amounts of fat for energy. This, of course, Continue reading >>

Ketosis Vs. Ketoacidosis: What You Should Know

Ketosis Vs. Ketoacidosis: What You Should Know

Despite the similarity in name, ketosis and ketoacidosis are two different things. Ketoacidosis refers to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and is a complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus. It’s a life-threatening condition resulting from dangerously high levels of ketones and blood sugar. This combination makes your blood too acidic, which can change the normal functioning of internal organs like your liver and kidneys. It’s critical that you get prompt treatment. DKA can occur very quickly. It may develop in less than 24 hours. It mostly occurs in people with type 1 diabetes whose bodies do not produce any insulin. Several things can lead to DKA, including illness, improper diet, or not taking an adequate dose of insulin. DKA can also occur in individuals with type 2 diabetes who have little or no insulin production. Ketosis is the presence of ketones. It’s not harmful. You can be in ketosis if you’re on a low-carbohydrate diet or fasting, or if you’ve consumed too much alcohol. If you have ketosis, you have a higher than usual level of ketones in your blood or urine, but not high enough to cause acidosis. Ketones are a chemical your body produces when it burns stored fat. Some people choose a low-carb diet to help with weight loss. While there is some controversy over their safety, low-carb diets are generally fine. Talk to your doctor before beginning any extreme diet plan. DKA is the leading cause of death in people under 24 years old who have diabetes. The overall death rate for ketoacidosis is 2 to 5 percent. People under the age of 30 make up 36 percent of DKA cases. Twenty-seven percent of people with DKA are between the ages of 30 and 50, 23 percent are between the ages of 51 and 70, and 14 percent are over the age of 70. Ketosis may cause bad breath. Ket Continue reading >>

Why Dka & Nutritional Ketosis Are Not The Same

Why Dka & Nutritional Ketosis Are Not The Same

There’s a very common misconception and general misunderstanding around ketones. Specifically, the misunderstandings lie in the areas of: ketones that are produced in low-carb diets of generally less than 50 grams of carbs per day, which is low enough to put a person in a state of “nutritional ketosis” ketones that are produced when a diabetic is in a state of “diabetic ketoacidosis” (DKA) and lastly, there are “starvation ketones” and “illness-induced ketones” The fact is they are very different. DKA is a dangerous state of ketosis that can easily land a diabetic in the hospital and is life-threatening. Meanwhile, “nutritional ketosis” is the result of a nutritional approach that both non-diabetics and diabetics can safely achieve through low-carb nutrition. Diabetic Ketoacidosis vs. Nutritional Ketosis Ryan Attar (soon to be Ryan Attar, ND) helps explain the science and actual human physiology behind these different types of ketone production. Ryan is currently studying to become a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine in Connecticut and also pursuing a Masters Degree in Human Nutrition. He has interned under the supervision of the very well-known diabetes doc, Dr. Bernstein. Ryan explains: Diabetic Ketoacidosis: “Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), is a very dangerous state where an individual with uncontrolled diabetes is effectively starving due to lack of insulin. Insulin brings glucose into our cells and without it the body switches to ketones. Our brain can function off either glucose or fat and ketones. Ketones are a breakdown of fat and amino acids that can travel through the blood to various tissues to be utilized for fuel.” “In normal individuals, or those with well controlled diabetes, insulin acts to cancel the feedback loop and slow and sto Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis Symptoms

Diabetic Ketoacidosis Symptoms

What is diabetic ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis, also referred to as simply ketoacidosis or DKA, is a serious and even life-threatening complication of type 1 diabetes. DKA is rare in people with type 2 diabetes. DKA is caused when insulin levels are low and not enough glucose can get into the body's cells. Without glucose for energy, the body starts to burn fat for energy. Ketones are products that are created when the body burns fat. The buildup of ketones causes the blood to become more acidic. The high levels of blood glucose in DKA cause the kidneys to excrete glucose and water, leading to dehydration and imbalances in body electrolyte levels. Diabetic ketoacidosis most commonly develops either due to an interruption in insulin treatment or a severe illness, including the flu. What are the symptoms and signs of diabetic ketoacidosis? The development of DKA is usually a slow process. However, if vomiting develops, the symptoms can progress more rapidly due to the more rapid loss of body fluid. Excessive urination, which occurs because the kidneys try to rid the body of excess glucose, and water is excreted along with the glucose High blood glucose (sugar) levels The presence of ketones in the urine Other signs and symptoms of ketoacidosis occur as the condition progresses: These include: Fatigue, which can be severe Flushing of the skin Fruity odor to the breath, caused by ketones Difficulty breathing Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis, Treatment, Medication What should I do if I think I may have, or someone I know may diabetic ketoacidosis? You should test your urine for ketones if you suspect you have early symptoms or warning signs of ketoacidosis. Call your health-care professional if your urine shows high levels of ketones. High levels of ketones and high blood sug Continue reading >>

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