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How Does Ketoacidosis Feel

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 >>

Take Care Of Yourself When Sick Or Under Stress

Take Care Of Yourself When Sick Or Under Stress

When we're stressed, our bodies need extra energy to help us cope and recover. This is true whether bodies are under stress from illness or injury or are dealing with the effects of emotional stress, both good and bad. To meet the demand for more energy, the body responds by releasing into the bloodstream sugar that's been stored in the liver, causing blood sugar levels to rise. In someone without diabetes, the pancreas responds to the rise in blood sugar by releasing enough insulin into the bloodstream to help convert the sugar into energy. This brings blood sugar levels back down to normal. In someone with diabetes, the extra demand usually means needing to take more diabetes medicine (insulin or pills.) To make sure your body is getting enough medicine to help keep your blood sugar levels close to normal, you'll need to test more often when you are: Sick Recovering from surgery Fighting an infection Feeling upset Under more stress than usual Traveling Type 1 Diabetes In people with type 1 diabetes, blood sugar levels rise in response to stress, but the body doesn't have enough insulin to turn the sugar into energy. Instead, the body burns stored fat to meet energy needs. When fat is burned for energy, it creates waste products called ketones. As fat is broken down, ketones start to build up in the bloodstream. High levels of ketones in the blood can lead to a serious condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which can cause a person to lose consciousness and go into a diabetic coma. Type 2 Diabetes In people with type 2 diabetes, the body usually has enough insulin available to turn sugar into energy, so it doesn't need to burn fat. However, stress hormones can cause blood sugar levels to rise to very high and even dangerous levels. People with type 2 diabetes Continue reading >>

Acute Complications Of Diabetes - Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Acute Complications Of Diabetes - Diabetic Ketoacidosis

- [Voiceover] Oftentimes we think of diabetes mellitus as a chronic disease that causes serious complications over a long period of time if it's not treated properly. However, the acute complications of diabetes mellitus are often the most serious, and can be potentially even life threatening. Let's discuss one of the acute complications of diabetes, known as diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA for short, which can occur in individuals with type 1 diabetes. Now recall that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. And as such, there's an autoimmune destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas, which prevents the pancreas from producing and secreting insulin. Therefore, there is an absolute insulin deficiency in type 1 diabetes. But what exactly does this mean for the body? To get a better understanding, let's think about insulin requirements as a balancing act with energy needs. Now the goal here is to keep the balance in balance. As the energy requirements of the body go up, insulin is needed to take the glucose out of the blood and store it throughout the body. Normally in individuals without type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is able to produce enough insulin to keep up with any amount of energy requirement. But how does this change is someone has type 1 diabetes? Well since their pancreas cannot produces as much insulin, they have an absolute insulin deficiency. Now for day-to-day activities, this may not actually cause any problems, because the small amount of insulin that is produced is able to compensate and keep the balance in balance. However, over time, as type 1 diabetes worsens, and less insulin is able to be produced, then the balance becomes slightly unequal. And this results in the sub-acute or mild symptoms of type 1 diabetes such as fatigue, because the body isn Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka): How Do You Know When It Is Time To Go To The Hospital?

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka): How Do You Know When It Is Time To Go To The Hospital?

I Have These Symptoms All the Time If you are diabetic, and have been for a while, you develop a different sense of what feeling "normal" is and when it is time to be concerned. However, even those of us with the most keen sense of our blood sugar levels based on symptoms we experience can become desensitized to how close we are to falling into a far more dismal situation known as Diabetic Ketoacidosis otherwise known as DKA. As described by the American Diabetes Association DKA is “a serious condition that can lead to diabetic coma and even death”. The ADA goes on to explain that when your cells don’t get the level of glucose they need to produce energy, our bodies have to go elsewhere to find means, like burning fat. The problem is that when the body burns fat for energy it produces an acid called Ketones which spill into the blood stream and become very toxic to your body. A diabetic in the state of DKA is essentially being poisoned by their own body as it seeks energy it cannot get from glucose saturated blood cells as it normally would. What does Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) feel like? Does it Hurt? Being in a state of DKA, from my experience, starts of rather mundane and usual and eventually becomes quite a surreal and alarming ordeal. For me, Diabetic Ketoacidosis began on a day no different than many others I had been having lately. I had gotten sloppy with my insulin doses and hadn’t been taking my blood glucose levels nearly often enough. I would take insulin based on what carbs I thought I was eating and when I was not eating, based on how I felt. I truly doing it all wrong, not because I don’t know what I need to do but because I had fallen into a bad habit of snacking constantly which makes it difficult to test correctly and almost impossible to gi Continue reading >>

Viewer Comments: Diabetic Ketoacidosis - Symptoms

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 >>

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 >>

Fire In My Veins: A Story Of Ketoacidosis

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 >>

Diabetic Coma Symptoms, What You Need To Know

Diabetic Coma Symptoms, What You Need To Know

Diabetic coma symptoms are something we should all be aware of. It is true that type 1 diabetics are more likely to experience them than type 2, but as diabetics are living longer, the chance of experiencing symptoms is greater. One statistic is that up to 15% of diabetics will go into diabetic coma because of severe hypoglycemia. Coma is another word for unconscious. A diabetic is in a coma if he cannot be wakened and can't respond to sounds and sights. It does not mean the person in a coma will die. These days, with swift blood test results and treatment, a diabetic will come out of a coma very fast. Diabetic medical alert bracelets and necklaces keep us from being misdiagnosed as drunk or epileptic when we cannot speak. But just knowing you are a diabetic is not enough. If you are taken to an emergency room, the doctors look for diabetic alert charms. But diabetic coma symptoms still need to be diagnosed correctly so the proper treatment is started, because there are three different types of coma, and the complications of all three are brain damage and death. Oddly, either chronic high blood sugar or sudden low blood sugar can trigger diabetic coma symptoms. That's why it's good to know how we react to both of them. With high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, you feel thirsty and have to urinate more often. You feel fatigue, and there is always nausea and vomiting, often for days. You can feel short of breath and have stomach pain. There is a fruity or acetone smell to your breath and a fast heartbeat. The symptoms are not sudden. But low blood sugar comes on very swiftly and can wake you out of a sound sleep. You feel shaky, nervous, tired and either hungry or nauseated. You sweat a lot and your heart races. You can get irritated and even aggressive for no reason, and Continue reading >>

What A High Blood Sugar Feels Like

What A High Blood Sugar Feels Like

What a High Blood Sugar Feels Like The high blood sugars are what gets me. A high blood sugar is a blood glucose above 140 mg/dL. For me, the symptoms I experience with severe hyperglycemia don’t emerge until well over 250-300 mg/dL. The lows, while urgent and intensely serious are felt differently. I don’t like to compare the two evils but the highs can be just as debilitating and it leaves me feeling depleted. It’s so hard to describe this pain that can’t be seen. I look fine on the outside but inside my body is fighting for energy and I’m suffering from the adverse effects. In these moments all I want to do is cry but I have no tears. I can’t quench my thirst no matter how much water I drink. My whole body aches and I’m staring at the clock waiting for the insulin I’ve given myself to be absorbed; giving my body the relief and nourishment that I desperately need. When my blood sugar is high I despise diabetes the most. When it’s high the minutes and possibly hours it takes for my blood sugar to come down is agonizing. I sit uncomfortably, restless, back and forth to the bathroom checking for ketones and blaming myself. When I know that with diabetes anything is possible. It’s absolutely torturous for anyone to have to go through this. My heads pounding, I’m irritable and utterly exhausted. I feel like I’m being crushed by tons of weight. It feels like syrup is running through my veins. I can’t move. I can’t think. I can’t function properly. I feel useless. These are the moments that I beg and plead to just get back to where I was before the high blood sugar. I become grateful for the bad days that weren’t as bad as this. The high blood sugar could have been caused by a pump malfunction, hormones, stress, illness, wrong dosage, or any n Continue reading >>

Gastroparesis: A Complication Of Diabetes

Gastroparesis: A Complication Of Diabetes

"Gastro" means stomach and "paresis" means impairment or paralysis. Diabetic gastropathy is a term for the spectrum of neuromuscular abnormalities of the stomach caused by diabetes. The abnormalities include gastric-dysrhythmias, antral hypomotility, incoordination of antroduodenal contractions and gastroparesis. Quick Stomach Anatomy Lesson The stomach is a neuromusclar organ that receives the food we ingest, mixes the food with acid and pepsin, and empties the nutriment suspension into the small intestine for absorption. The proximal stomach or fundus relaxes in order to receive the swallowed food (that's called receptive relaxation). The body and antrum mix and empty the food via recurrent gastric peristalic waves. The peristaltic contractions are paced by neoelectrical events called pacesetter potentials or slow waves. When gastric motility is normal, the postprandial (after eating) period is associated with pleasant epigastric sensations. Gastric motility disorders or gastroparesis presents with unpleasant, but non-specific postprandial symptoms: upper abdominal bloating, distention, discomfort, early satiety, nausea, and vomiting. If the vomitus contains undigested food, then gastroparesis is very likely to be present. Fluctuating, difficult-to-predict glucose levels may also reflect the presence of gastroparesis. Diabetes and the GI Tract The motility of your GI tract, which we were just speaking of, is controlled by an outer sleeve of muscles that surrounds your GI tract. They are controlled by a complex nervous system. Diabetes can damage these nerves, and it is this neurological long-term complication of diabetes that can lead to gastrointestinal disorders. How do we know this is the case? First, many of the people with gastroparesis have long-standing diabete 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 >>

Five Things To Know About Ketones

Five Things To Know About Ketones

If you live with diabetes, you have probably heard that ketones are something to watch out for. That they have something to do with the dreaded diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). But do you really understand what ketones are and why they happen? It’s scary to think about, sure. But it’s also very important to be in the know about ketones and to be prepared. 1) What are ketones? If there isn’t enough insulin in your system, you can’t turn glucose into energy. So your body starts breaking down body fat. Ketones are a chemical by-product of this process. This can occur when people with type 1 diabetes don’t take insulin for long periods of time, when insulin pumps fail to deliver insulin and the wearer does not monitor blood glucose, or during serious illness (in type 1 or type 2) when insulin doses are missed or not increased appropriately for the stress of illness. Ketones can happen to anyone with diabetes, but the condition is more common in people with type 1. 2) Why are ketones dangerous? Ketones upset the chemical balance of your blood and, if left untreated, can poison the body. Your body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and will try to get rid of them through the urine. Eventually they build up in the blood. The presence of ketones could be a sign that you are experiencing, or will soon develop, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)—a life-threatening medical emergency. 3) When should I test for ketones, and how? There are several situations in which it is a good idea to check for ketones, usually every four to six hours. Talk to your doctor to know what makes the most sense for you and your diabetes management plan. Your blood glucose is more than 300 mg/dl (or a level recommended by your doctor) You feel nauseated, are vomiting or have abdominal pain You are Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

What Is It? Diabetic ketoacidosis is a potentially fatal complication of diabetes that occurs when you have much less insulin than your body needs. This problem causes the blood to become acidic and the body to become dangerously dehydrated. Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur when diabetes is not treated adequately, or it can occur during times of serious sickness. To understand this illness, you need to understand the way your body powers itself with sugar and other fuels. Foods we eat are broken down by the body, and much of what we eat becomes glucose (a type of sugar), which enters the bloodstream. Insulin helps glucose to pass from the bloodstream into body cells, where it is used for energy. Insulin normally is made by the pancreas, but people with type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes) don't produce enough insulin and must inject it daily. Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School. Continue reading >>

What You Should Know About Recovery From Diabetic Coma

What You Should Know About Recovery From Diabetic Coma

A diabetic coma occurs when a person with diabetes loses consciousness. It can occur in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. A diabetic coma occurs when blood sugar levels become either too low or too high. The cells in your body require glucose to function. High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, can make you feel lightheaded and lose consciousness. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can cause dehydration to the point where you may lose consciousness. Usually, you can prevent hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia from progressing to a diabetic coma. If a diabetic coma occurs, it’s likely that your doctor can balance your blood glucose levels and restore your consciousness and health quickly if they can respond to your condition in a timely manner. You can also slip into a diabetic coma if you develop diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a buildup of chemicals called ketones in your blood. Hypoglycemia The symptoms of hypoglycemia may include: headache fatigue dizziness confusion heart palpitations shakiness Hyperglycemia If you have hyperglycemia, you may experience noticeably increased thirst and you may urinate more frequently. A blood test would also reveal higher levels of glucose in your blood stream. A urine test can also show that your glucose levels are too high. DKA causes high levels of blood glucose. The symptoms also include increased thirst and a frequent need to urinate. Other symptoms of elevated ketone levels include: feeling tired having an upset stomach having flushed or dry skin If you have more severe diabetic coma symptoms, call 911. Severe symptoms may include: vomiting difficulty breathing confusion weakness dizziness A diabetic coma is a medical emergency. It can lead to brain damage or death if you don’t get treatment. Treating hyperg Continue reading >>

Diabetes: Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetes: Diabetic Ketoacidosis

www.CardioSmart.org When you have diabetes (especially type 1 diabetes), you are at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This is a dangerous illness that happens when the body does not have enough insulin to use sugar for fuel, and so it breaks down fat and muscle instead. This process breaks down fat into fatty acids, which are turned into another type of acid called ketones. The ketones build up in your blood and change the chemical balance in your body. If not treated, DKA can lead to a coma or even death. DKA can happen if you have little or no insulin in your body and your blood sugar level gets too high. This can happen when you do not take enough insulin or when you have an infection or other illness such as the flu. Being severely dehydrated can also cause it. DKA occurs mostly in people with type 1 diabetes. It occurs less often in people with type 2 diabetes. Symptoms of DKA Symptoms include: • You have flushed, hot, dry skin. • You have a strong, fruity breath odor. • You have loss of appetite, belly pain, and vomiting. • You feel restless. • You have rapid, deep breathing. • You feel confused. • You feel very sleepy, or you have trouble waking up. Young children may not care about doing their normal activities. How to prevent DKA You can help prevent DKA if you: • Take your insulin and other diabetes medicines on time and in the right dose. • Test your blood sugar before meals and at bedtime. Or test as often as your doctor tells you to. This is the best way to know when your blood sugar is high so you can treat it early.Watching for symptoms is not as good. You may not notice them until you have already started making ketones and your blood sugar is very high. • Teach others at work, home, or scho Continue reading >>

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