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 >>
Dka: How To Avoid A Severe Complication Of Insulin Deficiency
To understand DKA, it is first necessary to understand how our body uses glucose for energy and the role that insulin plays in that process. When we eat, food gets broken down into glucose (commonly called sugar), which is then released into the bloodstream. Insulin that is produced by the pancreas in healthy individuals then helps transport the glucose into our cells, where it is used as an energy source. DKA occurs when the body lacks enough insulin to help the glucose enter the cells, resulting in the glucose getting stuck in the circulatory system. Consequently, the body eliminates the glucose via urine, along with much-needed water and electrolytes such as salt and potassium, ultimately causing dehydration. As a result, the person with DKA is thirsty, urinates frequently and is at risk for severe complications resulting from electrolyte imbalances. At the same time, the body’s glucose-starved cells resort to burning body fat for fuel. And when that fat is broken down, the chemical byproducts of the fat-burning process – ketones – build up in the blood and urine, which can make the blood more acidic, cause organ dysfunction and ultimately lead to life-threatening complications when the ketones reach abnormally high levels (ketoacidosis). It’s this combination of dehydration and ketoacidosis that is DKA, which can be fatal. Who is at risk of DKA? Individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D), especially children Individuals with T1D who also have eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia Individuals with T1D who cannot afford their insulin, so skip doses Some individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) who typically either do not know they have diabetes or who might have had diabetes for many years that requires insulin Individuals with diabetes who 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 >>
How To Avoid Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)
It might have been a really long time since you’ve been in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), or maybe you’ve never had it. But if you have Type 1 diabetes, you are at risk. Sometimes when you haven’t recently experienced a situation, you kind of forget about what you were told to do for prevention or treatment. That’s why a refresher might be a great idea! Signs you are experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis: If you are in DKA, it’s likely that you are nauseous or vomiting. Your breath may have a fruity or acetone odor as your body tries to offload ketones through your breathing. It’s likely that you will be dehydrated with very high BG levels and excessive urination. You might have aches and pains, and perhaps blurred vision. Not fun. DKA is serious, and can be life-threatening. Because of dehydration and excessive ketone production, the blood becomes acidic. This is caused by a lack of working insulin. Most cells preferentially burn glucose for fuel. Many cells can also burn fat in small amounts. While glucose burns “cleanly,” fat produces waste products called ketones. Ketones are acid and upset the pH balance, essentially polluting the atmosphere in our bodies. We don’t tend to burn much fat at a time, so small amounts of ketones can usually be broken down and burned off along with glucose. It’s necessary to have enough glucose in the body cells so there is a fuel source, and we also need to have insulin to move the glucose into the cells, where it can be used for energy. If there is no insulin, the glucose can’t get inside the cells. The cells are then forced to burn fat as an energy source, and this causes large amounts of ketones to be produced. Although some ketones will be eliminated through the urine, there will be too many ketones in the bloodstr Continue reading >>
How To Avoid Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a possible complication of diabetes caused by extreme hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose. It is a serious and potentially life-threatening complication, one that you should work hard to avoid when you have diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis mainly affects people with type 1 diabetes, but it is a very rare possible complication for people with type 2 diabetes. Your doctor and certified diabetes educator will teach you how to recognize and manage diabetic ketoacidosis. It's critical to know and recognize the signs and symptoms of DKA, as well as how to treat it. What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis happens when your blood glucose level gets too high—usually higher than 300 mg/dL. Because people with type 1 diabetes do not have the insulin to process this extra glucose, their body cannot break down this glucose to create energy. To create energy for itself, the body starts to aggressively break down fat. Ketones or ketoacids are a byproduct of this process. Your body can handle a small amount of ketones circulating in your blood. However, the sizeable amounts from DKA are toxic. Diabetic Ketoacidosis Causes Illness, infections, stress, injuries, neglecting diabetes care (not properly taking your insulin, for example), and alcohol consumption can cause DKA. Diabetic Ketoacidosis Symptoms Initial symptoms of DKA include a stomach ache, nausea, and vomiting. One problem with DKA is that people could mistake it for an illness that typically gets better over time like the flu or food poisoning. Other symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include: fruity breath (when fat is broken down by the body, it creates a chemical called acetone that smells fruity) fatigue frequent urination intense thirst headache If you feel any of these sympto Continue reading >>
How Can Cerebral Edema During Treatment Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis Be Avoided?
Abstract Cerebral edema during diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a rare complication but it can be devastating, with significant mortality and long-term morbidity. Certain risk factors have been teased out with some large case-control studies, but more research needs to be done to make management guidelines safer. This article will discuss how DKA might be prevented from occurring in the first instance, known risk factors for cerebral edema, fluid and insulin management, the importance of careful monitoring during DKA treatment, and the importance of recognizing and acting on the earliest symptoms to prevent long-term harm. Continue reading >>
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