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 >>
‘i Was 26 And Most Type 1 Diabetics Are Diagnosed In Childhood': The Deadly Danger Too Many Diabetics Aren't Warned About
Hannah Postles discovered she had type 1 diabetes after going to A&E with blurred vision. It wasn’t her only symptom. For the previous three weeks, she’d been thirsty, drinking two bottles of water at lunch, had lost weight and felt run down. Scroll down for video ‘My boss suggested I might have diabetes after looking up my symptoms online, but my GP seemed to dismiss it because of my age,’ says Hannah, a press officer for the University of Sheffield. ‘I was 26 and most type 1 diabetics are diagnosed in childhood.’ Luckily, Hannah spoke to a doctor friend who told her to go to A&E, where she was tested for diabetes, and immediately put on an insulin drip. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make insulin, the hormone that regulates glucose levels in the blood. Typically, people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed around the age of 12 — although occasionally adults are diagnosed in later life. Type 2 diabetes, which can be diagnosed at any age, occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the insulin itself does not work properly. Not only did Hannah have diabetes, her blood sugar levels were so out of control by the time she was diagnosed that she had developed diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition when blood glucose levels remain persistently high for days or weeks. The condition can be caused by illness or infection or by the mismanagement of diabetes — which, as Hannah, now 29, discovered, can be the result of not knowing you have it. Symptoms include vomiting, headaches, abdominal pain and, if left too long, coma and even death. Had Hannah not gone to A&E, she might have died. In July 2012, new mother Nicky Rigby, 26, from the Wirral, did die from undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. She’d assumed her chronic tiredness a Continue reading >>
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 Treatment & Management
Approach Considerations Managing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in an intensive care unit during the first 24-48 hours always is advisable. When treating patients with DKA, the following points must be considered and closely monitored: It is essential to maintain extreme vigilance for any concomitant process, such as infection, cerebrovascular accident, myocardial infarction, sepsis, or deep venous thrombosis. It is important to pay close attention to the correction of fluid and electrolyte loss during the first hour of treatment. This always should be followed by gradual correction of hyperglycemia and acidosis. Correction of fluid loss makes the clinical picture clearer and may be sufficient to correct acidosis. The presence of even mild signs of dehydration indicates that at least 3 L of fluid has already been lost. Patients usually are not discharged from the hospital unless they have been able to switch back to their daily insulin regimen without a recurrence of ketosis. When the condition is stable, pH exceeds 7.3, and bicarbonate is greater than 18 mEq/L, the patient is allowed to eat a meal preceded by a subcutaneous (SC) dose of regular insulin. Insulin infusion can be discontinued 30 minutes later. If the patient is still nauseated and cannot eat, dextrose infusion should be continued and regular or ultra–short-acting insulin should be administered SC every 4 hours, according to blood glucose level, while trying to maintain blood glucose values at 100-180 mg/dL. The 2011 JBDS guideline recommends the intravenous infusion of insulin at a weight-based fixed rate until ketosis has subsided. Should blood glucose fall below 14 mmol/L (250 mg/dL), 10% glucose should be added to allow for the continuation of fixed-rate insulin infusion. [19, 20] In established patient Continue reading >>
Your Intensive Care Hotline - Diabetic Coma
What is Diabetic Coma? Diabetic coma is a reversible form of coma found in people with diabetes mellitus. It is a medical emergency. Three different types of diabetic coma are identified: Severe diabetic hypoglycemia Diabetic ketoacidosis advanced enough to result in unconsciousness from a combination of severe hyperglycemia, dehydration and shock, and exhaustion Hyperosmolar nonketotic coma in which extreme hyperglycemia and dehydration alone are sufficient to cause unconsciousness. In most medical contexts, the term diabetic coma refers to the diagnostical dilemma posed when a physician is confronted with an unconscious Patient about whom nothing is known except that he has diabetes. An example might be a physician working in an emergency department who receives an unconscious Patient wearing a medical identification tag saying DIABETIC. Paramedics may be called to rescue an unconscious person by friends who identify him as diabetic. Brief descriptions of the three major conditions are followed by a discussion of the diagnostic process used to distinguish among them, as well as a few other conditions which must be considered. An estimated 2 to 15 percent of diabetics will suffer from at least one episode of diabetic coma in their lifetimes as a result of severe hypoglycemia. What is diabetes? Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) Hyperosmolar Hypoglycemic Non-Ketotic Coma (HHNKC) Hypoglycemic Coma What happens In Intensive Care? How long will your loved one remain in Intensive Care? Internet Links What is Diabetes? Diabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced.This high blood sugar produces Continue reading >>
- What Happens When You Go into a Diabetic Coma?
- Type 2 Diabetes Remission With Intensive Treatment
- Relative effectiveness of insulin pump treatment over multiple daily injections and structured education during flexible intensive insulin treatment for type 1 diabetes: cluster randomised trial (REPOSE)
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 >>
Patient professional reference Professional Reference articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use. You may find the Pre-diabetes (Impaired Glucose Tolerance) article more useful, or one of our other health articles. See also the separate Childhood Ketoacidosis article. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a medical emergency with a significant morbidity and mortality. It should be diagnosed promptly and managed intensively. DKA is characterised by hyperglycaemia, acidosis and ketonaemia: Ketonaemia (3 mmol/L and over), or significant ketonuria (more than 2+ on standard urine sticks). Blood glucose over 11 mmol/L or known diabetes mellitus (the degree of hyperglycaemia is not a reliable indicator of DKA and the blood glucose may rarely be normal or only slightly elevated in DKA). Bicarbonate below 15 mmol/L and/or venous pH less than 7.3. However, hyperglycaemia may not always be present and low blood ketone levels (<3 mmol/L) do not always exclude DKA. Epidemiology DKA is normally seen in people with type 1 diabetes. Data from the UK National Diabetes Audit show a crude one-year incidence of 3.6% among people with type 1 diabetes. In the UK nearly 4% of people with type 1 diabetes experience DKA each year. About 6% of cases of DKA occur in adults newly presenting with type 1 diabetes. About 8% of episodes occur in hospital patients who did not primarily present with DKA. However, DKA may also occur in people with type 2 diabetes, although people with type 2 diabetes are much more likely to have a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state. Ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes tends to be more common in older, overweight, non-white people with type 2 diabetes, and DKA may be their Continue reading >>
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
Having diabetes means that there is too much sugar (glucose) in your blood. When you eat food, your body breaks down much of the food into glucose. Your blood carries the glucose to the cells of your body. An organ in your upper belly, called the pancreas, makes and releases a hormone called insulin when it detects glucose. Your body uses insulin to help move the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells for energy. When your body does not make insulin (type 1 diabetes), or has trouble using insulin (type 2 diabetes), glucose cannot get into your cells. The glucose level in your blood goes up. Too much glucose in your blood (also called hyperglycemia or high blood sugar) can cause many problems. People with type 1 diabetes are at risk for a problem called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). It is very rare in people with type 2 diabetes. DKA happens when your body does not have enough insulin to move glucose into your cells, and your body begins to burn fat for energy. The burning of fats causes a build-up of dangerous levels of ketones in the blood. At the same time, sugar also builds up in the blood. DKA is an emergency that must be treated right away. If it is not treated right away, it can cause coma or death. What can I expect in the hospital? You will need to stay in the hospital in order to bring your blood sugar level under control and treat the cause of the DKA. Several things may be done while you are in the hospital to monitor, test, and treat your condition. They include: Monitoring You will be checked often by the hospital staff. You may have fingersticks to check your blood sugar regularly. This may be done as often as every hour. You will learn how to check your blood sugar level in order to manage your diabetes when you go home. A heart (cardiac) monitor may Continue reading >>
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious problem that can occur in people with diabetes if their body starts to run out of insulin. This causes harmful substances called ketones to build up in the body, which can be life-threatening if not spotted and treated quickly. DKA mainly affects people with type 1 diabetes, but can sometimes occur in people with type 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes, it's important to be aware of the risk and know what to do if DKA occurs. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis Signs of DKA include: needing to pee more than usual being sick breath that smells fruity (like pear drop sweets or nail varnish) deep or fast breathing feeling very tired or sleepy passing out DKA can also cause high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) and a high level of ketones in your blood or urine, which you can check for using home-testing kits. Symptoms usually develop over 24 hours, but can come on faster. Check your blood sugar and ketone levels Check your blood sugar level if you have symptoms of DKA. If your blood sugar is 11mmol/L or over and you have a blood or urine ketone testing kit, check your ketone level. If you do a blood ketone test: lower than 0.6mmol/L is a normal reading 0.6 to 1.5mmol/L means you're at a slightly increased risk of DKA and should test again in a couple of hours 1.6 to 2.9mmol/L means you're at an increased risk of DKA and should contact your diabetes team or GP as soon as possible 3mmol/L or over means you have a very high risk of DKA and should get medical help immediately If you do a urine ketone test, a result of more than 2+ means there's a high chance you have DKA. When to get medical help Go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department straight away if you think you have DKA, especially if you have a high level of ketones in Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis: A Silent Death.
Abstract Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) results from severe insulin deficiency and can be diagnosed at autopsy despite no known history of the disease. Diabetic ketoacidosis may be the initial manifestation of type 1 diabetes or may result from increased insulin requirement in type 1 diabetic patients. The purpose of this study was to determine the percentage of DKA death investigated by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner that was not associated with a known history of diabetes.Cases investigated by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner during a 6-year period whose cause of death was DKA were identified using a centralized database. To determine the percentage with known history of diabetes, investigation reports were reviewed for any documentation of this history. The toxicology reports of all DKA deaths were reviewed together with histologic slides, if available, for possible microscopic changes. Concentrations of vitreous glucose, vitreous acetone, and blood acetone were used to diagnose DKA in these autopsied cases.Nearly a third of all death from DKA (32 of 92 during a 6-year period) occurred in individuals who had no known history of diabetes, emphasizing the importance of regular physicals that include a check of glucose concentration, and especially if any warning signs are present. In a case of sudden death, it is recommended that the volatile toxicology analysis at a medical examiner's office should include tests for acetone concentration, which when elevated, together with an elevated vitreous glucose, indicates DKA. Continue reading >>
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 >>
Diabetic coma is a reversible form of coma found in people with diabetes mellitus. It is a medical emergency. Three different types of diabetic coma are identified: Severe low blood sugar in a diabetic person Diabetic ketoacidosis (usually type 1) advanced enough to result in unconsciousness from a combination of a severely increased blood sugar level, dehydration and shock, and exhaustion Hyperosmolar nonketotic coma (usually type 2) in which an extremely high blood sugar level and dehydration alone are sufficient to cause unconsciousness. In most medical contexts, the term diabetic coma refers to the diagnostical dilemma posed when a physician is confronted with an unconscious patient about whom nothing is known except that they have diabetes. An example might be a physician working in an emergency department who receives an unconscious patient wearing a medical identification tag saying DIABETIC. Paramedics may be called to rescue an unconscious person by friends who identify them as diabetic. Brief descriptions of the three major conditions are followed by a discussion of the diagnostic process used to distinguish among them, as well as a few other conditions which must be considered. An estimated 2 to 15 percent of diabetics will suffer from at least one episode of diabetic coma in their lifetimes as a result of severe hypoglycemia. Types Severe hypoglycemia People with type 1 diabetes mellitus who must take insulin in full replacement doses are most vulnerable to episodes of hypoglycemia. It is usually mild enough to reverse by eating or drinking carbohydrates, but blood glucose occasionally can fall fast enough and low enough to produce unconsciousness before hypoglycemia can be recognized and reversed. Hypoglycemia can be severe enough to cause un Continue reading >>
Ketoacidosis: A Diabetes Complication
Ketoacidosis can affect both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes patients. It's a possible short-term complication of diabetes, one caused by hyperglycemia—and one that can be avoided. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS) are two of the most serious complications of diabetes. These hyperglycemic emergencies continue to be important causes of mortality among persons with diabetes in spite of all of the advances in understanding diabetes. The annual incidence rate of DKA estimated from population-based studies ranges from 4.8 to 8 episodes per 1,000 patients with diabetes. Unfortunately, in the US, incidents of hospitalization due to DKA have increased. Currently, 4% to 9% of all hospital discharge summaries among patients with diabetes include DKA. The incidence of HHS is more difficult to determine because of lack of population studies but it is still high at around 15%. The prognosis of both conditions is substantially worsened at the extremes of age, and in the presence of coma and hypertension. Why and How Does Ketoacidosis Occur? The pathogenesis of DKA is more understood than HHS but both relate to the basic underlying reduction in the net effective action of circulating insulin coupled with a concomitant elevation of counter regulatory hormones such as glucagons, catecholamines, cortisol, and growth hormone. These hormonal alterations in both DKA and HHS lead to increased hepatic and renal glucose production and impaired use of glucose in peripheral tissues, which results in hyperglycemia and parallel changes in osmolality in extracellular space. This same combination also leads to release of free fatty acids into the circulation from adipose tissue and to unrestrained hepatic fatty acid oxidation to ketone bodies. Some drugs ca 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 >>
Canine Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)
Canine diabetic ketoacidosis, sometimes known as DKA, is a potentially fatal disease that most commonly occurs in dogs with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, although in rare cases it has been known to appear in nondiabetic dogs. This condition symptomatically resembles that of diabetes but usually goes unnoticed until a near-fatal situation is at hand. For this reason, it is important to understand the causes, symptoms and treatment options. How Canine Diabetic Ketoacidosis Develops Under normal conditions, the pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, which helps to regulate the level of glucose in the blood cells. When the pancreas is ineffectively able to create enough insulin, a dog becomes diabetic. By default, a dog's body will begin looking for alternative fuel sources, such as fat. The problem is that when too much fat is consumed by the body, the liver then begins to produce ketones. This excessive level of ketones causes the condition known as canine diabetic ketoacidosis. There are two scenarios in which this can occur: in dogs with poorly controlled diabetes and in dogs with undiagnosed diabetes. Recognizing the Symptoms Because of the potentially deadly side effects, it is crucially important that dog owners be aware of the symptoms of canine diabetic ketoacidosis. One of the more common problems associated with this illness is the extreme similarity of the warning signs to a diabetic condition. While both conditions are harmful, canine diabetic ketoacidosis represents the last step taken by the body before it surrenders to the condition. The following are some of the recognizable symptoms of canine diabetic ketoacidosis: Drinking or urinating more than usual Sudden, excessive weight loss attributed to loss of appetite General fatigue Vomiting Sudden on Continue reading >>