Introduction Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a dangerous complication of diabetes caused by a lack of insulin in the body. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the body is unable to use blood sugar (glucose) because there isn't enough insulin. Instead, it breaks down fat as an alternative source of fuel. This causes a build-up of a by-product called ketones. Most cases of diabetic ketoacidosis occur in people with type 1 diabetes, although it can also be a complication of type 2 diabetes. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include: passing large amounts of urine feeling very thirsty vomiting abdominal pain Seek immediate medical assistance if you have any of these symptoms and your blood sugar levels are high. Read more about the symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis. Who is affected by diabetic ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis is a relatively common complication in people with diabetes, particularly children and younger adults who have type 1 diabetes. Younger children under four years of age are thought to be most at risk. In about 1 in 4 cases, diabetic ketoacidosis develops in people who were previously unaware they had type 1 diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis accounts for around half of all diabetes-related hospital admissions in people with type 1 diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis triggers These include: infections and other illnesses not keeping up with recommended insulin injections Read more about potential causes of diabetic ketoacidosis. Diagnosing diabetic ketoacidosis This is a relatively straightforward process. Blood tests can be used to check your glucose levels and any chemical imbalances, such as low levels of potassium. Urine tests can be used to estimate the number of ketones in your body. Blood and urine tests can also be used to check for an underlying infec Continue reading >>
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 >>
Viewer Comments: Diabetic Ketoacidosis - Symptoms
I didn't know anything about diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) until I was admitted into the ICU. Learning about DKA now, I've had moderate DKA on and off for years. I thought my vomiting, stomach pain were the result of metformin and switched to Invokana. I experienced extreme weight loss and dehydration but thought these were normal (Invokana shown to help diabetics lose weight). I have been under extreme financial and emotional stress for the past few years as well. What I would want others to know is that it is difficult to identify DKA from medication side effects; until DKA is at the ICU level. I was given so much potassium and other electrolytes. Stress is also a huge factor for me. While in the ICU my ex-husband (knowing I was in the ICU) started more harassment. The nurses documented an over 100 jump in my blood sugar after a phone call to deal with the harassment. I've started tracking stress and my blood sugar. It is impossible to get control of my blood sugar during high stress. If I add more insulin, I have a dangerous crash later. Keeping a calm environment as much as I can helps. I have type 2 diabetes. I gave myself more than 300 shots. My doctor put me on metformin. This takes the place of insulin shots. There are three different doses. What made it for me was 850 mg per meal. I count my carbohydrates, 60 per meal, and take my pill. I have seen here, folks that have 200, 300, 695 mg/dl of glucose. It is tough to manage, but if you keep to it, you will do well. Check the bottoms of your feet daily. If you are ticklish, you are doing fine. Give up cakes, pies, ice cream and other things high in carbohydrates. If you do, you will be fine. By the way, my average glucose reading is less than 120. Set that as your goal. Have good days! I have been having really dif 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 >>
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 A High Blood Sugar Feels Like.
The American Diabetes Association cites the following symptoms as indicative of high blood sugar: High blood glucose [Editor’s note: Duh] High levels of sugar in the urine Frequent urination Increased thirst And if high blood sugar goes untreated? “Hyperglycemia can be a serious problem if you don’t treat it, so it’s important to treat as soon as you detect it. If you fail to treat hyperglycemia, a condition called ketoacidosis (diabetic coma) could occur. Ketoacidosis develops when your body doesn’t have enough insulin. Without insulin, your body can’t use glucose for fuel, so your body breaks down fats to use for energy. When your body breaks down fats, waste products called ketones are produced. Your body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and will try to get rid of them through the urine. Unfortunately, the body cannot release all the ketones and they build up in your blood, which can lead to ketoacidosis.” – ADA website But what does a high blood sugar feel like? Because when you see someone who is working through an elevated blood sugar, they may not look terribly out of sorts. But what is happening inside of them is real, and plays out in a myriad of ways for every person with diabetes. I’ve tried to write about it several times, but each high is different, and affects me in different ways: “It’s a thick feeling in the base of your brain, like someone’s cracked open your head and replaced your gray matter with sticky jam. I find myself zoning out and staring at things, and my eyeballs feel dry and like they’re tethered to my head by frayed ropes instead of optic nerves. Everything is slow and heavy and whipped with heavy cream.” – Oh, High! “There’s something about a high blood sugar that makes my body feel weighted down, l Continue reading >>
Why Do My Calves Hurt So Much? How Can I Treat Them?
Normally there are two sources of pain other than blunt trauma or acute edged cut. The first is associated swelling which can be caused by bacteria from an aggravated injury site which is abused by over-constant use without remedy. And this can be approached with some antibiotic and anti-inflammatory agent. Swelling regardless of causes indicates muscle soreness and expanded tissue swollen with fluids and blood. The swelling compresses nerves sympathetic to the affected area which causes pain. Commonly used are combination pain-killers called NSAID Another source of calf pain is acidosis which is a pH change in the blood to a more acidic level. There are several different sources of acid unbalance, but most commonly is the metabolic or muscular type wrought from over exercise or lack of exercise then a sudden burst of non-normal behavior activity The production of lactic acid comes from anaerobic cellular respiration which is brought on by over activity leading to hypoxemia that is when there is a lack of oxygen supply from arterial blood to the muscle tissues leading to the muscle cells using non-oxygen respiration. Cramps are unpleasant and frightening and if this the type of calf pain that you are experiencing, it may be from pregnancy depriving certain minerals and nutrients, to a change in the blood chemistry or inhaling methanol, or diabetic ketoacidosis. Respiratory Acidosis affects the nervous system rather than metabolic acidosis and the symptoms will help to decide the best way to alleviate the pain. Through autonomic behavior the increased release of Carbon Dioxide by faster exhalation will change the blood pH and increased oxygenation will improve the delivery or arterial blood oxygen diffusion. From my experience with muscle contractions, cramps, strenuous Continue reading >>
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) happens when your blood sugar is high and your insulin level is low. This imbalance in the body causes a build-up of ketones. Ketones are toxic. If DKA isn’t treated, it can lead to diabetic coma and even death. DKA mainly affects people who have type 1 diabetes. But it can also happen with other types of diabetes, including type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes (during pregnancy). DKA is a very serious condition. If you have diabetes and think you may have DKA, contact your doctor or get to a hospital right away. The first symptoms to appear are usually: frequent urination. The next stage of DKA symptoms include: vomiting (usually more than once) confusion or trouble concentrating a fruity odor on the breath. The main cause of DKA is not enough insulin. A lack of insulin means sugar can’t get into your cells. Your cells need sugar for energy. This causes your body’s glucose levels to rise. To get energy, the body starts to burn fat. This process causes ketones to build up. Ketones can poison the body. High blood glucose levels can also cause you to urinate often. This leads to a lack of fluids in the body (dehydration). DKA can be caused by missing an insulin dose, eating poorly, or feeling stressed. An infection or other illness (such as pneumonia or a urinary tract infection) can also lead to DKA. If you have signs of infection (fever, cough, or sore throat), contact your doctor. You will want to make sure you are getting the right treatment. For some people, DKA may be the first sign that they have diabetes. When you are sick, you need to watch your blood sugar level very closely so that it doesn’t get too high or too low. Ask your doctor what your critical blood sugar level is. Most patients should watch their glucose levels c Continue reading >>
Symptoms And Detection Of Ketoacidosis
Symptoms These symptoms are due to the ketone poisoning and should never be ignored. As soon as a person begins to vomit or has difficulty breathing, immediate treatment in an emergency room is required to prevent coma and possible death. Early Signs, Symptoms: Late Signs, Symptoms: very tired and sleepy weakness great thirst frequent urination dry skin and tongue leg cramps fruity odor to the breath* upset stomach* nausea* vomiting* shortness of breath sunken eyeballs very high blood sugars rapid pulse rapid breathing low blood pressure unresponsiveness, coma * these are more specific for ketoacidosis than hyperosmolar syndrome Everyone with diabetes needs to know how to recognize and treat ketoacidosis. Ketones travel from the blood into the urine and can be detected in the urine with ketone test strips available at any pharmacy. Ketone strips should always be kept on hand, but stored in a dry area and replaced as soon as they become outdated. Measurement of Ketones in the urine is very important for diabetics with infections or on insulin pump therapy due to the fact it gives more information than glucose tests alone. Check the urine for ketones whenever a blood sugar reading is 300 mg/dl or higher, if a fruity odor is detected in the breath, if abdominal pain is present, if nausea or vomiting is occurring, or if you are breathing rapidly and short of breath. If a moderate or large amount of ketones are detected on the test strip, ketoacidosis is present and immediate treatment is required. Symptoms for hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome are linked to dehydration rather than acidosis, so a fruity odor to the breath and stomach upset are less likely. How To Detect Ketones During any illness, especially when it is severe and any time the stomach becomes upset, ketone Continue reading >>
Fire In My Veins: A Story Of Ketoacidosis
I’ve had type 1 diabetes for 14 long years. During that time, I have had five episodes of ketoacidosis, two of which were brought on by emotional stress. The one that happened eight years ago, shortly after the meltdown of a serious relationship, lives vividly in my memory. Usually I jump out of bed to start the day, but when I woke up that morning, I felt like the bed was on top of me, the weight of my chest too heavy to sit up. My mouth felt full of cotton and my tongue was swollen and useless. I sat up on the edge of my bed and supported my wobbling weight with my arms stretched out at my sides. Suddenly, the heartburn was so strong that it felt like a volcanic eruption from the middle up my chest up to the back of my throat. I think I tasted blood. I needed water. As I stumbled slowly down the stairs to the kitchen, I remembered that the night before, I had gone to bed with my glucose level in the low 100s. I was so distraught about my recent breakup that I couldn’t eat any dinner, but had forced down a few peanuts and a slice of cheese to avoid the ketones that can develop after not eating for too long. I knew that my post-breakup emotions were getting the best of me mentally, but was surprised when the effects started coming at me physically as well. It felt like my veins were on fire. I drank nearly a gallon of water, and I could almost hear the flames sizzling as my veins cooled down. Have you ever had the illusion that you could feel every single vein under your skin? Now imagine that each vein has scorching lava coursing through it instead of blood. Even my skin felt too tight for my body. I wanted to believe that I could flush the ketones out of my system on my own by not eating any carbohydrates, drinking lots of water, and urinating as much as possible. Continue reading >>
How Much Sugar Is Okay To Eat?
Recently, sugar — and how much we’re consuming — has been making headlines. When it comes to heart health (and overall health) butter used to be the bad guy. Not anymore. Now, all eyes are on sugar — and, in particular, added sugar. The problem isn’t necessarily sugar itself. It’s just how much of it we’re consuming on a daily basis. The average American consumes 94 grams of added sugar a day, which works out to about 23.5 teaspoons every day — roughly the equivalent of two-and-a-half cans of Coke a day. Meanwhile, the American Heart Association recommends a maximum of just six teaspoons a day for women and nine for men. First, a quick explainer: There are two types of sugar. Glucose, found in bread and pasta, comes from carbohydrates. Fructose, on the other hand, is found in fruits and vegetables. It’s usually harmless, but in high quantities from the added sugars in processed foods, it can have harmful effects on your health. The recent spike in added sugar consumption has contributed to a range of health issues, including obesity, metabolic disease, insulin resistance and fatty liver. Added sugar offers zero health benefits and empty calories — along with other detrimental effects on skin, memory and overeating. And, to make matters worse, research shows that sugar creates a need for even more sugar, meaning you can become dependent on it and experience symptoms of withdrawal without it. “Fructose fails to stimulate hormones, like insulin, that are important in helping us feel full,” said Kathleen Page, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine at Keck School of Medicine of USC. Dr. Page, who also is an endocrinologist at Keck Medicine of USC, was a researcher on a study that found eating added sweeteners such as fructose may promote feedin Continue reading >>
Are Protein Powders Safe?
Are protein shakes good for you? You've seen those massive tubs of whey powder in the gym or your local supermarket, but are they actually necessary for the man in training? Do protein shakes work? Scott Laidler explains all. 'Protein shakes are a helpful, convenient solution...but they won't turn your body into a temple overnight What is a protein shake There are still many misconceptions regarding protein shakes. Firstly, people often mistake them for steroids – perhaps understandable, given the big promises that drive the products' marketing campaigns. But protein shakes are purely nutritional; unlike steroids, they have no direct influence on your hormones. Another source of confusion is the differentiation between a 'mass gainer' and a protein shake. Mass gainers are used as an aid to bulking up. They typically include a large amount of simple carbohydrates that get delivered straight to your muscles. These serve a purpose after a workout when the muscle's energy is depleted, but use them at the wrong time (as many do) and the end result is fat gain instead of fat burn. Protein shakes, by contrast, deliver amino acids to muscle cells, helping them to recover after strenuous workouts. Which protein shake should I chose? Whey is the most common base for the protein powder, as it contains all of the nine essential amino acids that facilitate the healing of damaged muscles. There are three main types of whey protein: isolate, hydrolysate, and concentrate. Isolate yields a high level of protein and is low on allergenics, making it a good option for the lactose intolerant. Hydrolysate is produced in a way that effectively means it has been predigested, so its rate of absorption by the body is super fast. Concentrate, meanwhile, is the cheapest option, as the effects of Continue reading >>
Will Eating 2,000 Calories A Day Make Me Lose Weight?
If you are a short inactive woman, eating 2,000 calories a day will make you gain weight. If you are a tall inactive man, the same calories would make you lose weight. Calorie calculator - Mayo Clinic Most people do not want to simply lose weight, they want to keep the weight off. Unfortunately, this is a lot more complicated than counting calories. The long term benefits of dieting are not positive. I cover it in my post or keep reading: Eating Less? You May Not Lose Weight. Here's Why. The only thing that seems to consistently work long term for weight loss is bariatric surgery. "A recent systematic review examining the efficacy of major commercial and organized self-help weight loss programs in the United States concluded that the evidence to support the use of such programs was suboptimal, except for one trial on Weight Watchers. Furthermore, the programs were associated with high costs, attrition rates, and probability of regaining at least 50% of the lost weight in 1 to 2 years...Bariatric surgery generally is effective for sustained weight loss of about 16% for people with BMIs of at least 40 kg/m(2) or at least 35 kg/m(2) with comorbid conditions" Bariatric surgery: an evidence-based analysis. Even surgery is not enough to look like a magazine model (even with airbrushing). For those of us with a calculator, a five foot woman who weighs 200 pounds has a BMI high enough for surgery. That surgery will result in about 16% of her weight lost, or 32 pounds. She will still likely weigh 168 after having surgery done. For a 6 foot man, he'd need to weigh 300 pounds to qualify for surgery. After surgery, he'd get a 48 pound weight loss, and still weigh 252 pounds. (BTW, his resting caloric burning at 300 pounds was 3279 calories a day. So eating 2000 calories would be st Continue reading >>
What You Should Know About Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a buildup of acids in your blood. It can happen when your blood sugar is too high for too long. It could be life-threatening, but it usually takes many hours to become that serious. You can treat it and prevent it, too. It usually happens because your body doesn't have enough insulin. Your cells can't use the sugar in your blood for energy, so they use fat for fuel instead. Burning fat makes acids called ketones and, if the process goes on for a while, they could build up in your blood. That excess can change the chemical balance of your blood and throw off your entire system. People with type 1 diabetes are at risk for ketoacidosis, since their bodies don't make any insulin. Your ketones can also go up when you miss a meal, you're sick or stressed, or you have an insulin reaction. DKA can happen to people with type 2 diabetes, but it's rare. If you have type 2, especially when you're older, you're more likely to have a condition with some similar symptoms called HHNS (hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome). It can lead to severe dehydration. Test your ketones when your blood sugar is over 240 mg/dL or you have symptoms of high blood sugar, such as dry mouth, feeling really thirsty, or peeing a lot. You can check your levels with a urine test strip. Some glucose meters measure ketones, too. Try to bring your blood sugar down, and check your ketones again in 30 minutes. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room right away if that doesn't work, if you have any of the symptoms below and your ketones aren't normal, or if you have more than one symptom. You've been throwing up for more than 2 hours. You feel queasy or your belly hurts. Your breath smells fruity. You're tired, confused, or woozy. You're having a hard time breathing. Continue reading >>
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 >>