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How Do You Stop Ketoacidosis?

Understanding And Treating Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Understanding And Treating Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious metabolic disorder that can occur in animals with diabetes mellitus (DM).1,2 Veterinary technicians play an integral role in managing and treating patients with this life-threatening condition. In addition to recognizing the clinical signs of this disorder and evaluating the patient's response to therapy, technicians should understand how this disorder occurs. DM is caused by a relative or absolute lack of insulin production by the pancreatic b-cells or by inactivity or loss of insulin receptors, which are usually found on membranes of skeletal muscle, fat, and liver cells.1,3 In dogs and cats, DM is classified as either insulin-dependent (the body is unable to produce sufficient insulin) or non-insulin-dependent (the body produces insulin, but the tissues in the body are resistant to the insulin).4 Most dogs and cats that develop DKA have an insulin deficiency. Insulin has many functions, including the enhancement of glucose uptake by the cells for energy.1 Without insulin, the cells cannot access glucose, thereby causing them to undergo starvation.2 The unused glucose remains in the circulation, resulting in hyperglycemia. To provide cells with an alternative energy source, the body breaks down adipocytes, releasing free fatty acids (FFAs) into the bloodstream. The liver subsequently converts FFAs to triglycerides and ketone bodies. These ketone bodies (i.e., acetone, acetoacetic acid, b-hydroxybutyric acid) can be used as energy by the tissues when there is a lack of glucose or nutritional intake.1,2 The breakdown of fat, combined with the body's inability to use glucose, causes many pets with diabetes to present with weight loss, despite having a ravenous appetite. If diabetes is undiagnosed or uncontrolled, a series of metab Continue reading >>

Diabetes Complications In Dogs And Cats: Diabetes Ketoacidosis (dka)

Diabetes Complications In Dogs And Cats: Diabetes Ketoacidosis (dka)

Unfortunately, we veterinarians are seeing an increased prevalence of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats. This is likely due to the growing prevalence of obesity (secondary to inactive lifestyle, a high carbohydrate diet, lack of exercise, etc.). So, if you just had a dog or cat diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, what do you do? First, we encourage you to take a look at these articles for an explanation of the disease: Diabetes Mellitus (Sugar Diabetes) in Dogs Once you have a basic understanding of diabetes mellitus (or if you already had one), this article will teach you about life-threatening complications that can occur as a result of the disease; specifically, I discuss a life-threatening condition called diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) so that you know how to help prevent it! What is DKA? When diabetes goes undiagnosed, or when it is difficult to control or regulate, the complication of DKA can occur. DKA develops because the body is so lacking in insulin that the sugar can’t get into the cells -- resulting in cell starvation. Cell starvation causes the body to start breaking down fat in an attempt to provide energy (or a fuel source) to the body. Unfortunately, these fat breakdown products, called “ketones,” are also poisonous to the body. Symptoms of DKA Clinical signs of DKA include the following: Weakness Not moving (in cats, hanging out by the water bowl) Not eating to complete anorexia Large urinary clumps in the litter box (my guideline? If it’s bigger than a tennis ball, it’s abnormal) Weight loss (most commonly over the back), despite an overweight body condition Excessively dry or oily skin coat Abnormal breath (typically a sweet “ketotic” odor) In severe cases DKA can also result in more significant signs: Abnormal breathing pattern Jaundice Ab Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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 Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis: What You Need To Know

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 >>

How To Avoid Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

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 >>

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: What It Is And How To Prevent It

Diabetic Ketoacidosis: What It Is And How To Prevent It

What is diabetic ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis (say: key-toe-acid-OH-sis), or DKA for short, happens when your body has high blood sugar (also called glucose) and a build-up of acid. If it isn’t treated, it can lead to coma and even death. It mainly affects persons with type 1 diabetes. But, it can happen with other types of diabetes, including type 2 diabetes and diabetes during pregnancy. What causes DKA? The main cause of DKA is not having enough insulin. This raises the blood glucose levels, but stops the body from using the glucose for energy. To get calories, the body starts to burn fat. This causes a build-up of acid in the body. A high level of blood glucose can cause excessive urination, which leads to a lack of fluids in the body (dehydration). What are triggering factors? The most common triggering factors are “skipping” insulin doses and illnesses, especially infections that raise your body’s need for insulin. How can I prevent DKA? You should work with your doctor to have a plan if your blood glucose level gets too high. Make sure that you know how to reach your doctor in an emergency. Careful monitoring is needed, especially if you are sick. What should I do? Check your blood glucose level at least every three to four hours if you are sick. Check your glucose level every one to two hours if you have critical blood glucose values. Ask your doctor what your critical level should be. Most patients should watch their glucose levels closely when they are higher than 250 mg per dL. Keep testing at least every four hours during the night. Test your urine for ketones or your blood for beta-hydroxybutyrate every four hours or if your blood glucose is over 250 mg per dL. If you are not eating, do NOT stop your insulin completely. Your body needs insuli Continue reading >>

Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis In The Picu

Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis In The Picu

DKA - A common PICU diagnosis Incidence 4.6 – 8 per 1000 person years among people with diabetes Pediatric mortality rate is 1-2% DKA causes profound dehydration Hyperglycemia leads to osmotic diuresis Often 10-15% down from baseline weight Profound urinary free water and electrolyte loss Free water follows glucose into urine Electrolytes follow free water into urine Electrolyte abnormalities Pseudo-hyponatremia with hyperglycemia Sodium should rise with correction of glucose Profound total-body K+ depletion Urinary loss, decreased intake, emesis Initial K+ may be high due to acidosis, low insulin Aggressive K+ replacement necessary to prevent arrhythmias Phosphate, magnesium, calcium require replacement Initial DKA management - ED Resuscitation aimed at shock reversal Begin with 10-20 mL/kg NS bolus, may repeat if signs of shock persist Bolus fluids only necessary if signs of shock present Avoid overly-aggressive fluid resuscitation Concern for inciting cerebral edema, though no clear data Initial DKA management - ED NEVER give bicarbonate Increases risk of cerebral edema Begin insulin infusion at 0.1 units/kg/hr Should be initiated prior to leaving ED SQ or bolus insulin not indicated Pre-PICU arrival Order several bags of dextrose-containing and non-dextrose-containing IVF pre-PICU arrival Often takes pharmacy 1 hour to custom-make IVF No dextrose-containing fluids stocked in PICU Fluid Management - PICU 3 components to replacement fluids Deficit (often 10-15% total body water deficit) Ongoing losses (polyuria, emesis) Maintenance Possible to calculate the above, or give: 1.5X maintenance if moderately dehydrated 2X maintenance if severely dehydrated Isotonic fluid with potassium NS + 20 mEq/L KCl + 20 mEq/L KPhos Start with 40 mEq/L of potassium if K+ < 5 K+ Continue reading >>

What You Should Know About Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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 >>

Type 1 Diabetes Complications

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 >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis This is a life threatening, medical emergency. This is the most common way for new type 1 diabetics to present. Ketogenesis Ketogenesis occurs when there is insufficient glucose supply and glycogen stores are exhausted (such as prolonged fasting): The liver takes fatty acids and converts them to ketones. Ketones are water soluble fatty acids that can be used as fuel. They can cross the blood brain barrier and be used by the brain as fuel. Producing ketones is normal and not harmful in healthy patients when under fasting conditions or low carbohydrate, high fat diets. Ketones levels can be measured in the urine (dip stick) and blood (by ketone meter). People in ketosis (producing ketones) have a characteristic acetone smell to their breath. Ketone acids (ketones) are buffered in normal patients, so the blood does not become acidotic. When underlying pathology (i.e. Type 1 Diabetes) causes extreme hyperglycaemic ketosis, this results in a metabolic acidosis that is life threatening (see below). Diabetic Ketoacidosis Pathophysiology When there is no insulin, the cells of the body cannot take glucose from the blood and use it for fuel Therefore, the cells think the body is being fasted and has no glucose supply Meanwhile, the level of glucose in the blood keeps rising (hyperglycaemia) Ketoacidosis Because the cells in the body have no fuel and think they are starving, they initiate the process of ketogenesis, so that they have a usable fuel Over time, the patient gets higher and higher glucose and ketones levels Initially, the kidney produces bicarbonate to counteract the acidic blood and maintain a normal pH Over time, the ketone acids uses up the bicarbonate and the blood starts to become acidic (ketoacidosis) Dehydration The hyperglycaemia overwhelm Continue reading >>

What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a buildup of acids in the blood. It is a life-threatening complication of diabetes resulting from not having enough insulin. It may happen with type 1 diabetes. (It rarely happens with type 2 diabetes.) It’s an emergency that must be treated right away. If ketoacidosis is not treated right away, it can cause coma or death. What is the cause? Diabetic ketoacidosis happens when the body does not have enough insulin. Without insulin, sugars in the blood cannot move out of the blood and into the body’s cells, so the cells burn fats instead of sugar for energy. The burning of fats makes byproducts called ketones. The ketones build up to poisonous and dangerous levels in the blood. Usually the blood sugar is also very high. Ketoacidosis can happen if you skip doses of insulin. Or it may happen if there is a change in your life, such as: Infection Injury Heart attack Surgery Pregnancy Other types of physical or emotional stress If you are using an insulin pump, it may happen if you stop getting insulin because there is a kink in the tube or the tube comes out. Sometimes you may not know you have diabetes until ketoacidosis occurs. When the pancreas stops making insulin, it happens over a short period of time. In just a few days your blood sugar can get very high and ketones can build up to a high level very fast. It may happen so fast that ketoacidosis symptoms are the first symptoms of diabetes that you have. What are the symptoms? Symptoms of ketoacidosis may include: Shortness of breath Fruity smelling breath Very dry mouth Nausea and vomiting Symptoms of high blood sugar may include: Blurry vision Dry mouth Feeling very thirsty and drinking a lot Urinating a lot Tiredness Several hours to a couple of days after symptoms start, ketoacidosis may Continue reading >>

The Scary Experience Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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 >>

Diabetes With Ketone Bodies In Dogs

Diabetes With Ketone Bodies In Dogs

Studies show that female dogs (particularly non-spayed) are more prone to DKA, as are older canines. Diabetic ketoacidosis is best classified through the presence of ketones that exist in the liver, which are directly correlated to the lack of insulin being produced in the body. This is a very serious complication, requiring immediate veterinary intervention. Although a number of dogs can be affected mildly, the majority are very ill. Some dogs will not recover despite treatment, and concurrent disease has been documented in 70% of canines diagnosed with DKA. Diabetes with ketone bodies is also described in veterinary terms as diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA. It is a severe complication of diabetes mellitus. Excess ketone bodies result in acidosis and electrolyte abnormalities, which can lead to a crisis situation for your dog. If left in an untreated state, this condition can and will be fatal. Some dogs who are suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis may present as systemically well. Others will show severe illness. Symptoms may be seen as listed below: Change in appetite (either increase or decrease) Increased thirst Frequent urination Vomiting Abdominal pain Mental dullness Coughing Fatigue or weakness Weight loss Sometimes sweet smelling breath is evident Slow, deep respiration. There may also be other symptoms present that accompany diseases that can trigger DKA, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease. While some dogs may live fairly normal lives with this condition before it is diagnosed, most canines who become sick will do so within a week of the start of the illness. There are four influences that can bring on DKA: Fasting Insulin deficiency as a result of unknown and untreated diabetes, or insulin deficiency due to an underlying disease that in turn exacerba 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 >>

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