Diabetes: What Is Ketoacidosis And How Can Be Avoided & Treated?
Good question! According to Wikipedia: Diabetic ketoacidosis is a potentially life-threatening complication in patients with diabetes mellitus. In order to define ketoacidosis a little better, let's go back to the source: diabetes. Someone who is diabetic is unable to produce insulin, a hormone necessary for the transfer of sugar from the bloodstream to the cells, which in turn produce energy. If this progression is disrupted, through lack of insulin for example, the body has to try to compensate by creating energy elsewhere. And so the body starts to burn fat and muscle to meet its energy needs. Unfortunately, this chemical reaction produces molecules known as ketone bodies. In small quantities, these are fine, and it is in fact normal to have traces of them in your blood (approximately 1mg/dl). However, if the quantity of ketones surpasses this threshold by too much, it starts to affect the pH of your blood (which becomes progressively more acidic). Even the slightest drop in pH can have dangerous effects: as the quantity of the ketones in your blood increases, and the blood pH diminishes, your kidneys start having problems. Eventually, if the ketoacidosis is left untreated, your kidneys can fail and you can die from dehydration, tachycardia and hypotension. A number of other symptoms can appear in extreme cases. Fortunately for us, the quantity of ketones has to be consequential, and it usually takes a while before individuals start manifesting symptoms. In my case, my diabetes went undiagnosed for a month and a half before it was discovered, and even then my ketone levels were relatively normal. If you're a diabetic, ketoacidosis can be easily avoided by controlling your blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Some doctors, preferring to stay on the Continue reading >>
What Is The Treatments For Ketoacidosis?
Management of diabetic ketoacidos Time: 0–60 mins 1. Commence 0.9% sodium chloride If systolic BP > 90 mmHg, give 1 L over 60 mins If systolic BP < 90 mmHg, give 500 mL over 10–15 mins, then re-assess. If BP remains < 90 mmHg, seek senior review 2. Commence insulin treatment 50 U human soluble insulin in 50 mL 0.9% sodium chloride infused intravenously at 0.1 U/kg body weight/hr Continue with SC basal insulin analogue if usually taken by patient 3. Perform further investigations: see text 4. Establish monitoring schedule Hourly capillary blood glucose and ketone testing Venous bicarbonate and potassium after 1 and 2 hrs, then every 2 hrs Plasma electrolytes every 4 hrs Clinical monitoring of O2 saturation, pulse, BP, respiratory rate and urine output every hour 5. Treat any precipitating cause Time: 60 mins to 12 hrs • IV infusion of 0.9% sodium chloride with potassium chloride added as indicated below 1 L over 2 hrs 1 L over 2 hrs 1 L over 4 hrs 1 L over 4 hrs 1 L over 6 hrs • Add 10% glucose 125 mL/hr IV when glucose < 14 mmol/L • Be more cautious with fluid replacement in elderly, young people, pregnant patients and those with renal or heart failure. If plasma sodium is > 155 mmol/L, 0.45% sodium chloride may be used. • Adjust potassium chloride infusion Plasma potassium (mmol/L) Potassium replacement (mmol/L of infusion) > 5.5 Nil 3.5–5.5 40 < 3.5 Senior review – additional potassium required Time: 12–24 hrs • Ketonaemia and acidosis should have resolved (blood ketones < 0.3 mmol/L, venous bicarbonate > 18 mmol/L). Request senior review if not improving • If patient is not eating and drinking Continue IV insulin infusion at lower rate of 2–3 U/kg/hr Continue IV fluid replacement and biochemical monitoring • If ketoacidosis has resolved and 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 >>
Is Keto Healthy? Ketosis Vs Ketoacidosis
Is Keto Healthy? Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis When looking at a ketogenic diet and ketosis, it’s common for some people to confuse the process with a harmful, more extreme version of this state known as diabetic ketoacidosis. But there are a lot of misconceptions out there about ketosis vs ketoacidosis, and it’s time to shed some light on the subject by looking at the (very big) differences between the two. An Overview of Ketosis A ketogenic, or keto, diet is centered around the process of ketosis, so it’s important to understand exactly what ketosis is first before we get into whether or not it’s safe (spoiler: it is): Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body is primarily using fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. Burning carbohydrates (glucose) for energy is the default function of the body, so if glucose is available, the body will use that first. But during ketosis, the body is using ketones instead of glucose. This is an amazing survival adaptation by the body for handling periods of famine or fasting, extreme exercise, or anything else that leaves the body without enough glucose for fuel. Those eating a ketogenic diet purposely limit their carb intake (usually between 20 and 50 grams per day) to facilitate this response. That’s why the keto diet focuses on very low carb intake, moderate to low protein intake, and high intakes of dietary fats. Lower protein is important because it prevents the body from pulling your lean muscle mass for energy and instead turns to fat. Ketone bodies are released during ketosis and are created by the liver from fatty acids. These ketones are then used by the body to power all of its biggest organs, including the brain, and they have many benefits for the body we’ll get into later. But first, let’s address a common mi Continue reading >>
Ketoacidosis is a metabolic state associated with high concentrations of ketone bodies, formed by the breakdown of fatty acids and the deamination of amino acids. The two common ketones produced in humans are acetoacetic acid and β-hydroxybutyrate. Ketoacidosis is a pathological metabolic state marked by extreme and uncontrolled ketosis. In ketoacidosis, the body fails to adequately regulate ketone production causing such a severe accumulation of keto acids that the pH of the blood is substantially decreased. In extreme cases ketoacidosis can be fatal. Ketoacidosis is most common in untreated type 1 diabetes mellitus, when the liver breaks down fat and proteins in response to a perceived need for respiratory substrate. Prolonged alcoholism may lead to alcoholic ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis can be smelled on a person's breath. This is due to acetone, a direct by-product of the spontaneous decomposition of acetoacetic acid. It is often described as smelling like fruit or nail polish remover. Ketosis may also give off an odor, but the odor is usually more subtle due to lower concentrations of acetone. Treatment consists most simply of correcting blood sugar and insulin levels, which will halt ketone production. If the severity of the case warrants more aggressive measures, intravenous sodium bicarbonate infusion can be given to raise blood pH back to an acceptable range. However, serious caution must be exercised with IV sodium bicarbonate to avoid the risk of equally life-threatening hypernatremia. Cause Three common causes of ketoacidosis are alcohol, starvation, and diabetes, resulting in alcoholic ketoacidosis, starvation ketoacidosis, and diabetic ketoacidosis respectively. In diabetic ketoacidosis, a high concentration of ketone bodies is usually accomp Continue reading >>
Why Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis So Dangerous?
The main thing, which Carol Linn Miller so very correctly points out, is that diabetic ketoacidosis can be fatal. But having been through it, what makes the condition so dangerous is you don't necessarily feel like you need to get it treated. You go off into a kind of la-la land, and don't take necessary action. If you wait too long, you may die. I didn't go to an ER until I suddenly went blind, and it turned out I was near death. I knew something was wrong, but the part of my brain that tells you "Danger! Danger!" wasn't working. 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 >>
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 >>
Ketoacidosis: A Complication Of Diabetes
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious condition that can occur as a complication of diabetes. People with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) have high blood sugar levels and a build-up of chemicals called ketones in the body that makes the blood more acidic than usual. Diabetic ketoacidosis can develop when there isn’t enough insulin in the body for it to use sugars for energy, so it starts to use fat as a fuel instead. When fat is broken down to make energy, ketones are made in the body as a by-product. Ketones are harmful to the body, and diabetic ketoacidosis can be life-threatening. Fortunately, treatment is available and is usually successful. Symptoms Ketoacidosis usually develops gradually over hours or days. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis may include: excessive thirst; increased urination; tiredness or weakness; a flushed appearance, with hot dry skin; nausea and vomiting; dehydration; restlessness, discomfort and agitation; fruity or acetone smelling breath (like nail polish remover); abdominal pain; deep or rapid breathing; low blood pressure (hypotension) due to dehydration; and confusion and coma. See your doctor as soon as possible or seek emergency treatment if you develop symptoms of ketoacidosis. Who is at risk of diabetic ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis usually occurs in people with type 1 diabetes. It rarely affects people with type 2 diabetes. DKA may be the first indication that a person has type 1 diabetes. It can also affect people with known diabetes who are not getting enough insulin to meet their needs, either due to insufficient insulin or increased needs. Ketoacidosis most often happens when people with diabetes: do not get enough insulin due to missed or incorrect doses of insulin or problems with their insulin pump; have an infection or illne Continue reading >>
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
Having diabetes means that there is too much sugar (glucose) in your blood. When you eat food, your body breaks down much of the food into glucose. Your blood carries the glucose to the cells of your body. An organ in your upper belly, called the pancreas, makes and releases a hormone called insulin when it detects glucose. Your body uses insulin to help move the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells for energy. When your body does not make insulin (type 1 diabetes), or has trouble using insulin (type 2 diabetes), glucose cannot get into your cells. The glucose level in your blood goes up. Too much glucose in your blood (also called hyperglycemia or high blood sugar) can cause many problems. People with type 1 diabetes are at risk for a problem called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). It is very rare in people with type 2 diabetes. DKA happens when your body does not have enough insulin to move glucose into your cells, and your body begins to burn fat for energy. The burning of fats causes a build-up of dangerous levels of ketones in the blood. At the same time, sugar also builds up in the blood. DKA is an emergency that must be treated right away. If it is not treated right away, it can cause coma or death. What can I expect in the hospital? You will need to stay in the hospital in order to bring your blood sugar level under control and treat the cause of the DKA. Several things may be done while you are in the hospital to monitor, test, and treat your condition. They include: Monitoring You will be checked often by the hospital staff. You may have fingersticks to check your blood sugar regularly. This may be done as often as every hour. You will learn how to check your blood sugar level in order to manage your diabetes when you go home. A heart (cardiac) monitor may Continue reading >>
Symptoms Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis: What You Need To Know
Diabetes can be hard to manage, but not properly controlling the disease can have dangerous and potentially deadly consequences. Ketoacidosis is one of them. This condition happens in people who don’t have enough insulin in their body, perhaps because they have not taken some of their insulin shots. The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains that when insulin is lacking, and the body cannot use ingested sugar as a fuel source, it starts to break down fat, which releases acids called ketones into the bloodstream. In large numbers, those ketones are poisonous and can cause deep, rapid breathing, dry skin and mouth, frequent thirst, a flushed face, headache, nausea, stomach pain, muscle stiffness, muscle aches, frequent urination, difficulty concentrating and fruity-smelling breath. If left untreated, the condition can be fatal, in part because it can eventually cause fluid to build up in the brain and for the heart and kidneys to stop working. There are ways to tell whether you have the condition or are approaching it, the Mayo Clinic says. A routine blood sugar test like the kind diabetics take all the time will show high blood sugar, and there are tests to measure the ketone levels in urine. The American Diabetes Association says that experts usually recommend using a urine test strip to check for ketones when blood glucose levels reach higher than 240 milligrams per deciliter. And when sick with a cold or flu, a person should “check for ketones every four to six hours” to be safe. That’s because infections or other illnesses can increase hormones like adrenaline and cortisol in the body, which then counter the work of insulin — “pneumonia and urinary tract infections are common culprits,” the Mayo Clinic warns. In addition to missed insulin shots and 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 >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis Clinical Presentation
History Insidious increased thirst (ie, polydipsia) and urination (ie, polyuria) are the most common early symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Malaise, generalized weakness, and fatigability also can present as symptoms of DKA. Nausea and vomiting usually occur and may be associated with diffuse abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and anorexia. A history of rapid weight loss is a symptom in patients who are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Patients may present with a history of failure to comply with insulin therapy or missed insulin injections due to vomiting or psychological reasons. Decreased perspiration is another possible symptom of DKA. Altered consciousness in the form of mild disorientation or confusion can occur. Although frank coma is uncommon, it may occur when the condition is neglected or if dehydration or acidosis is severe. Among the symptoms of DKA associated with possible intercurrent infection are fever, dysuria, coughing, malaise, chills, chest pain, shortness of breath, and arthralgia. Acute chest pain or palpitation may occur in association with myocardial infarction. Painless infarction is not uncommon in patients with diabetes and should always be suspected in elderly patients. A study by Crossen et al indicated that in children with type 1 diabetes, those who have had a recent emergency department visit and have undergone a long period without visiting an endocrinologist are more likely to develop DKA. The study included 5263 pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes.  Continue reading >>
Can Diabetes Kill You?
Here’s what you need to know about the life-threatening diabetes complication called diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis is one of the most serious complications of diabetes. Symptoms can take you by surprise, coming on in just 24 hours or less. Without diabetic ketoacidosis treatment, you will fall into a coma and die. “Every minute that the person is not treated is [another] minute closer to death,” says Joel Zonszein, MD, professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin. (Diabetic ketoacidosis most often affects people with type 1 diabetes, but there is also type 2 diabetes ketoacidosis.) Without insulin, sugar can’t be stored in your cells to be used as energy and builds up in your blood instead. Your body has to go to a back-up energy system: fat. In the process of breaking down fat for energy, your body releases fatty acids and acids called ketones. Ketones are an alternative form of energy for the body, and just having them in your blood isn’t necessarily harmful. That’s called ketosis, and it can happen when you go on a low-carb diet or even after fasting overnight. “When I put people on a restricted diet, I can get an estimate of how vigorously they’re pursuing it by the presence of ketones in the urine,” says Gerald Bernstein, MD, an endocrinologist and coordinator of the Friedman Diabetes Program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. RELATED: The Ketogenic Diet Might Be the Next Big Weight Loss Trend, But Should You Try It? But too many ketones are a problem. “In individuals with diabetes who have no or low insulin production, there is an overproduction of ketones, and the kidneys can’t get rid of them fast enough,” sa Continue reading >>
The Scary Experience Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Today, we’re excited to share with you another guest blog from Katie Janowiak, who works for the Medtronic Foundation, our company’s philanthropic arm. When she first told me her story about food poisoning and Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), I knew others could benefit from hearing it as well. Thanks Katie for your openness and allowing us to share your scary story so that the LOOP community can learn from it. Throughout this past year, I’ve had the honor of sharing with you, the amazing LOOP community, my personal journey and the often humorous sequence of events that is my life with T1. Humor is, after all, the best (and cheapest) therapy. Allow me to pause today to share with you the down and dirty of what it feels like to have something that is not the slightest bit humorous: diabetic ketoacidosis.You are hot. You are freezing. You are confused. You are blacked out but coherent. You go to talk but words fail you. Time flies and goes in slow motion simultaneously. You will likely smell and look like death. In my instance, this was brought on by the combination of excessive vomiting and dehydration caused by food poisoning and the diabetic ketoacidosis that followed after my body had gone through so much. In hindsight, I was lucky, my husband knew that I had food poisoning because I began vomiting after our meal. But I had never prepped him on diabetic ketoacidosis and the symptoms (because DKA was for those other diabetics.) Upon finding me in our living room with a bowl of blood and bile by my side (no, I am not exaggerating), he got me into the car and took me to emergency care. It was 5:30 p.m. – and I thought it was 11:00 a.m. The series of events that led up to my stay in the ICU began innocently enough. It was a warm summer night and my husband and I walke Continue reading >>