Diabetic Ketoacidosis Explained
Twitter Summary: DKA - a major complication of #diabetes – we describe what it is, symptoms, who’s at risk, prevention + treatment! One of the most notorious complications of diabetes is diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. First described in the late 19th century, DKA represented something close to the ultimate diabetes emergency: In just 24 hours, people can experience an onset of severe symptoms, all leading to coma or death. But DKA also represents one of the great triumphs of the revolution in diabetes care over the last century. Before the discovery of insulin in 1920, DKA was almost invariably fatal, but the mortality rate for DKA dropped to below 30 percent within 10 years, and now fewer than 1 percent of those who develop DKA die from it, provided they get adequate care in time. Don’t skip over that last phrase, because it’s crucial: DKA is very treatable, but only as long as it’s diagnosed promptly and patients understand the risk. Table of Contents: What are the symptoms of DKA? Does DKA occur in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes? What Can Patients do to Prevent DKA? What is DKA? Insulin plays a critical role in the body’s functioning: it tells cells to absorb the glucose in the blood so that the body can use it for energy. When there’s no insulin to take that glucose out of the blood, high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) results. The body will also start burning fatty acids for energy, since it can’t get that energy from glucose. To make fatty acids usable for energy, the liver has to convert them into compounds known as ketones, and these ketones make the blood more acidic. DKA results when acid levels get too high in the blood. There are other issues too, as DKA also often leads to the overproduction and release of hormones like glucagon and adrenaline Continue reading >>
Practice Essentials Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is an acute, major, life-threatening complication of diabetes that mainly occurs in patients with type 1 diabetes, but it is not uncommon in some patients with type 2 diabetes. This condition is a complex disordered metabolic state characterized by hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, and ketonuria. Signs and symptoms The most common early symptoms of DKA are the insidious increase in polydipsia and polyuria. The following are other signs and symptoms of DKA: Nausea and vomiting; may be associated with diffuse abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and anorexia History of failure to comply with insulin therapy or missed insulin injections due to vomiting or psychological reasons or history of mechanical failure of insulin infusion pump Altered consciousness (eg, mild disorientation, confusion); frank coma is uncommon but may occur when the condition is neglected or with severe dehydration/acidosis Signs and symptoms of DKA associated with possible intercurrent infection are as follows: See Clinical Presentation for more detail. Diagnosis On examination, general findings of DKA may include the following: Characteristic acetone (ketotic) breath odor In addition, evaluate patients for signs of possible intercurrent illnesses such as MI, UTI, pneumonia, and perinephric abscess. Search for signs of infection is mandatory in all cases. Testing Initial and repeat laboratory studies for patients with DKA include the following: Serum electrolyte levels (eg, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus) Note that high serum glucose levels may lead to dilutional hyponatremia; high triglyceride levels may lead to factitious low glucose levels; and high levels of ketone bodies may lead to factitious elevation of creatinine levels. Continue reading >>
How Safe Is It To Drink Hand Sanitizer?
The consumption of 'alcohol based hand gel' (hand sanitiser) is a relatively common problem in English hospitals. We admit a number of patients to the wards who use the opportunity to drink the sanitiser, it is readily available on all of our wards to attempt to reduce the incidence of hospital acquired infection. A patient of ours was recently found to have consistently raised blood alcohol levels despite being unable to leave hospital because of serious liver problems. After investigation, he was found to be drinking the hand sanitiser which was available in great quantities. EDIT:- the patients who tend to consume this in hospitals are usually substance dependent alcohol users and they are usually likely to drink large quantities. The products usually contain high percentages of ethanol and isopropanol. The toxic effects are reported by the poisons information centre as follows:- Ethanol Severe and potentially fatal 2000-4000 mg/L (200-400 mg/dL, 43.4 - 86.9 mmol/L) - Respiratory depression, hypotension, loss of protective airway reflexes (risk of aspiration), hypothermia, incontinence, coma, hypoglycaemia (particularly in children) which can lead to seizures. Polycythemia has been reported. Cardiac arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation and atrioventricular block have been recorded. Myocardial infarction has been reported after a large acute ingestion (Gowda RM et al, 2003). Metabolic acidosis may be present and may be severe. The degree of acidosis cannot, however, be predicted by blood ethanol concentrations (Zehtabachi et al, 2005). A ketoacidosis may be present particularly following an ethanol binge in patients with a history of chronic ethanol abuse and malnutrition (Peces R, 2008). Isopropanol :- Gastrointestinal: Burning sensation in mouth and throat, nau Continue reading >>
Is It Really Required To Control Blood Sugar In Type 1 Diabetes?
If you don’t control your blood sugar with Type 1 Diabetes, you will die much sooner than is normal. That is a fact, not advice. If you are willing to die much earlier than anticipated, then of course you can choose to not control your blood sugar. It’s your choice and you have the ability to commit suicide very slowly. If you have no one in your life who cares about you or depends on you, I see nothing wrong with your choice. If you have family and friends who will miss you, I think you’re being silly. If you have dependents such as children or pets, I think you’re being irresponsible and childish. It is entirely possible to use a fixed dosage of insulin and survive because that’s exactly what people did for a long time. They ate carefully chosen meals and that went fine. If you’re willing to consume the exact same grams of carbs at the same time each day and not exercise, that might be an option for you. Presumably your food will get boring and your lifestyle may suffer but it’s technically feasible, just not recommended because of how constricting it is. However, there is no method of living that will save you from having to dedicate any thought to the management of your disease and not die an early death. Even with a fixed dosage, you will need to work with your healthcare provider to determine what that dosage is and what food and activity you can handle. You are correct that diabetes management complicates your life. I myself dedicate multiple spreadsheets to my healthcare management and I visit my endocrinologist three times a year. I count my carb consumption and monitor my insulin usage so that I can adjust it appropriately. This allows me to eat whatever I want, exercise as much as I want, and not worry about the short- and long-term effects of h Continue reading >>
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What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
An Overview Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is considered to be one of the most severe metabolic imbalance associated with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Type 1 diabetes mellitus is also known as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, wherein a patient depends upon external sources of insulin as its body is unable to make it as per the body’s requirement. DKA is seen very commonly in about 35% to 40% of young diabetic patients including small children and teenagers when diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Patients who are not suffering with type 1 form of diabetes could also fall under the risk of acquiring DKA condition due to various other reasons. Every diabetic patient irrespective of the type of diabetes, can develop DKA, when facing any other form of illness. Diabetic ketoacidosis is often a serious condition that may require immediate hospitalization for the patient. Approximately, 160,000 hospital admissions per year in the United States occur in this regard. Unfortunately DKA is seen to show maximum complication in young adults including teenagers and of course the elderly patients. Complication arising out diabetic ketoacidosis also accounts for a number of deaths in the US for children and young patients suffering from diabetes. The biggest challenge in the management of this condition comes with the lack of awareness of the unmanaged diabetes in patients that is not taken very seriously event today. What is Diabetic Ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life threatening complication associated with diabetes. This condition arises when the body produces excess quantities of ketoacids. The risk of developing ketoacidosis is greater in people with Type 1 diabetes. The condition develops when the amount of insulin produced by the body is insufficient. As insulin levels dr Continue reading >>
> Hyperglycemia And Diabetic Ketoacidosis
When blood glucose levels (also called blood sugar levels) are too high, it's called hyperglycemia. Glucose is a sugar that comes from foods, and is formed and stored inside the body. It's the main source of energy for the body's cells and is carried to each through the bloodstream. But even though we need glucose for energy, too much glucose in the blood can be unhealthy. Hyperglycemia is the hallmark of diabetes — it happens when the body either can't make insulin (type 1 diabetes) or can't respond to insulin properly (type 2 diabetes). The body needs insulin so glucose in the blood can enter the cells to be used for energy. In people who have developed diabetes, glucose builds up in the blood, resulting in hyperglycemia. If it's not treated, hyperglycemia can cause serious health problems. Too much sugar in the bloodstream for long periods of time can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs. And, too much sugar in the bloodstream can cause other types of damage to body tissues, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems in people with diabetes. These problems don't usually show up in kids or teens with diabetes who have had the disease for only a few years. However, they can happen in adulthood in some people, particularly if they haven't managed or controlled their diabetes properly. Blood sugar levels are considered high when they're above someone's target range. The diabetes health care team will let you know what your child's target blood sugar levels are, which will vary based on factors like your child's age. A major goal in controlling diabetes is to keep blood sugar levels as close to the desired range as possible. It's a three-way balancing act of: diabetes medicines (such as in Continue reading >>
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. Your body needs a constant source of energy. When you have plenty of insulin, your body cells can get all the energy they need from glucose. If you don't have enough insulin in your blood, your liver is programmed to manufacture emergency fuels. These fuels, made from fat, are called ketones (or keto acids). In a pinch, ketones can give you energy. However, if your body stays dependent on ketones for energy for too long, you soon will become ill. Ketones are acidic chemicals that are toxic at high concentrations. In diabetic ketoacidosis, ketones build up in the blood, seriously altering the normal chemistry of the blood and interfering with the function of multiple organs. They make the blood acidic, which causes vomiting and abdominal pain. If the acid level of the blood becomes extreme, ketoacidosis can cause falling blood pressure, coma and death. Ketoacidosis is always accompanied by dehydration, which is caused by high Continue reading >>
Respiratory Failure In Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Go to: INTRODUCTION Ketoacidosis in subjects with type 1, or less frequently, type 2 diabetes mellitus remains a potentially life-threatening diabetic manifestation. The subject has justifiably attracted attention in the literature. Sequential reviews[1-9] have documented important changes in the clinical concepts that are related to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and its management. A large number of case series of DKA have addressed various aspects of its clinical presentation and management. For this review, we selected representative studies focused on management, outcome, age differences, gender differences, associated morbid conditions, ethnicity and prominent clinical and laboratory features[10-35]. In recognition of the complexity of treatment, the recommendation to provide this care in intensive care units was made more than 50 years ago. Severe DKA is treated in intensive care units today. Evidence-based guidelines for the diagnosis and management of DKA have been published and frequently revised in North America[37,38] and Europe. Losses of fluids and electrolytes, which are important causes of morbidity and mortality in DKA, vary greatly between patients. Quantitative methods estimating individual losses and guiding their replacement have also been reported[40,41]. The outcomes of DKA have improved with new methods of insulin administration and adherence to guidelines[43-46]. The aim of treatment is to minimize mortality and prevent sequelae. One study documented that the target of zero mortality is feasible. However, mortality from DKA, although reduced progressively in the early decades after the employment of insulin treatment, remains high. Up to fifty plus years ago, mortality from DKA was between 3% and 10%[1,16]. A recent review re Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka) - Topic Overview
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening condition that develops when cells in the body are unable to get the sugar (glucose) they need for energy because there is not enough insulin. When the sugar cannot get into the cells, it stays in the blood. The kidneys filter some of the sugar from the blood and remove it from the body through urine. Because the cells cannot receive sugar for energy, the body begins to break down fat and muscle for energy. When this happens, ketones, or fatty acids, are produced and enter the bloodstream, causing the chemical imbalance (metabolic acidosis) called diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis can be caused by not getting enough insulin, having a severe infection or other illness, becoming severely dehydrated, or some combination of these things. It can occur in people who have little or no insulin in their bodies (mostly people with type 1 diabetes but it can happen with type 2 diabetes, especially children) when their blood sugar levels are high. Your blood sugar may be quite high before you notice symptoms, which include: Flushed, hot, dry skin. Feeling thirsty and urinating a lot. Drowsiness or difficulty waking up. Young children may lack interest in their normal activities. Rapid, deep breathing. A strong, fruity breath odor. Loss of appetite, belly pain, and vomiting. Confusion. Laboratory tests, including blood and urine tests, are used to confirm a diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis. Tests for ketones are available for home use. Keep some test strips nearby in case your blood sugar level becomes high. When ketoacidosis is severe, it must be treated in the hospital, often in an intensive care unit. Treatment involves giving insulin and fluids through your vein and closely watching certain chemicals in your blood (electrolyt Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis: A Serious Complication
A balanced body chemistry is crucial for a healthy human body. A sudden drop in pH can cause significant damage to organ systems and even death. This lesson takes a closer look at a condition in which the pH of the body is severely compromised called diabetic ketoacidosis. Definition Diabetic ketoacidosis, sometimes abbreviated as DKA, is a condition in which a high amount of acid in the body is caused by a high concentration of ketone bodies. That definition might sound complicated, but it's really not. Acidosis itself is the state of too many hydrogen ions, and therefore too much acid, in the blood. A pH in the blood leaving the heart of 7.35 or less indicates acidosis. Ketones are the biochemicals produced when fat is broken down and used for energy. While a healthy body makes a very low level of ketones and is able to use them for energy, when ketone levels become too high, they make the body's fluids very acidic. Let's talk about the three Ws of ketoacidosis: who, when, and why. Type one diabetics are the group at the greatest risk for ketoacidosis, although the condition can occur in other groups of people, such as alcoholics. Ketoacidosis usually occurs in type one diabetics either before diagnosis or when they are subjected to a metabolic stress, such as a severe infection. Although it is possible for type two diabetics to develop ketoacidosis, it doesn't happen as frequently. To understand why diabetic ketoacidosis occurs, let's quickly review what causes diabetes. Diabetics suffer from a lack of insulin, the protein hormone responsible for enabling glucose to get into cells. This inability to get glucose into cells means that the body is forced to turn elsewhere to get energy, and that source is fat. As anyone who exercises or eats a low-calorie diet knows, fa Continue reading >>
What Are The Short-term Consequences Of Not Controlling Type 1 Diabetes?
Death. Well, that depends on just how poorly controlled you're talking, but if you mean not treating at all, then you can progress through some serious consequences ending in death over the course of a day or so. Unlike the more common Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, people with Diabetes mellitus type 1 do not produce insulin on their own, and need an external source of insulin to survive. That is because cells cannot take in sugar from the bloodstream to fuel themselves without insulin, so once the sugar in there is used up the cells have to start breaking down fatty acids to stay alive, but that produces ketones, which are toxic. At the same time, all the sugar that's stuck, unusable, in the bloodstream interferes with kidney function, causing dehydration. Its a combination that leads to Diabetic ketoacidosis, which can kill a person within 24 hours of their first symptoms. Ok, so now lets consider a person who is still taking some insulin, but not really paying attention to their blood sugar. It is still possible for them to undertreat themselves, which can potentially still lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Or, they can overtreat themselves, causing hypoglycaemia, which if only slight might just make them a little woozy, but if severe can lead to unconsciousness and death if they are not found and treated. Easing up a little more, we can imagine a person who's a bit more careful. They still take their insulin, they check their blood sugars relatively often, but they can be a little forgetful about just how many helpings of dessert they had. Their sugars will run high, but there should be enough getting into the cells to prevent DKA. Most of the consequences of that are going to be long-term, like peripheral vascular disease, kidney damage and retinopathy. In the short term, Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Dogs
My dog is diabetic. He has been doing pretty well overall, but recently he became really ill. He stopped eating well, started drinking lots of water, and got really weak. His veterinarian said that he had a condition called “ketoacidosis,” and he had to spend several days in the hospital. I’m not sure I understand this disorder. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a medical emergency that occurs when there is not enough insulin in the body to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. The body can’t use glucose properly without insulin, so blood glucose levels get very high, and the body creates ketone bodies as an emergency fuel source. When these are broken down, it creates byproducts that cause the body’s acid/base balance to shift, and the body becomes more acidic (acidosis), and it can’t maintain appropriate fluid balance. The electrolyte (mineral) balance becomes disrupted which can lead to abnormal heart rhythms and abnormal muscle function. If left untreated, diabetic ketoacidosis is fatal. How could this disorder have happened? If a diabetic dog undergoes a stress event of some kind, the body secretes stress hormones that interfere with appropriate insulin activity. Examples of stress events that can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis include infection, inflammation, and heart disease. What are the signs of diabetic ketoacidosis? The signs of diabetic ketoacidosis include: Excessive thirst/drinking Increased urination Lethargy Weakness Vomiting Increased respiratory rate Decreased appetite Weight loss (unplanned) with muscle wasting Dehydration Unkempt haircoat These same clinical signs can occur with other medical conditions, so it is important for your veterinarian to perform appropriate diagnostic tests to determine if diabetic ketoacidosis in truly the issue at hand Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)
Tweet Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a dangerous complication faced by people with diabetes which happens when the body starts running out of insulin. DKA is most commonly associated with type 1 diabetes, however, people with type 2 diabetes that produce very little of their own insulin may also be affected. Ketoacidosis is a serious short term complication which can result in coma or even death if it is not treated quickly. Read about Diabetes and Ketones What is diabetic ketoacidosis? DKA occurs when the body has insufficient insulin to allow enough glucose to enter cells, and so the body switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies. A high level of ketone bodies in the blood can cause particularly severe illness. Symptoms of DKA Diabetic ketoacidosis may itself be the symptom of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. Typical symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include: Vomiting Dehydration An unusual smell on the breath –sometimes compared to the smell of pear drops Deep laboured breathing (called kussmaul breathing) or hyperventilation Rapid heartbeat Confusion and disorientation Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis usually evolve over a 24 hour period if blood glucose levels become and remain too high (hyperglycemia). Causes and risk factors for diabetic ketoacidosis As noted above, DKA is caused by the body having too little insulin to allow cells to take in glucose for energy. This may happen for a number of reasons including: Having blood glucose levels consistently over 15 mmol/l Missing insulin injections If a fault has developed in your insulin pen or insulin pump As a result of illness or infections High or prolonged levels of stress Excessive alcohol consumption DKA may also occur prior to a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Ketoacidosis can occasional Continue reading >>
What Is The Longest A Diabetic Can Go Without An Injection?
Type one diabetes at the most two to three days, by that time they would be severely ketotic, risking a sometimes fatal diabetes hyperglycemic ketoacidotic coma. For type 2 diabetes mostly that can be for months, even years, like we see in those war torn areas. My erstwhile partner, when I met him already a senior physician, told me that the experience during WW II in The Netherlands, those mostly type 2 diabetics who couldn’t get insulin didn’t die from not having insulin (which at the end was air-dropped by the British into German occupied territories), in fact did quite well with their blood sugars, unfortunately for a very sad reason: the Dutch famine of 1944–45 - Wikipedia costing about 18,000 people their lives. Of course not having their diabetes well controlled would cause them to develop a lot more complications so would shorten their lifespan appreciably. Continue reading >>
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Diabetic Ketoacidosis Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, And Complications
Diabetic ketoacidosis definition and facts Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening complication of type 1 diabetes (though rare, it can occur in people with type 2 diabetes) that occurs when the body produces high levels of ketones due to lack of insulin. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin. The signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include Risk factors for diabetic ketoacidosis are type 1 diabetes, and missing insulin doses frequently, or being exposed to a stressor requiring higher insulin doses (infection, etc). Diabetic ketoacidosis is diagnosed by an elevated blood sugar (glucose) level, elevated blood ketones and acidity of the blood (acidosis). The treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis is insulin, fluids and electrolyte therapy. Diabetic ketoacidosis can be prevented by taking insulin as prescribed and monitoring glucose and ketone levels. The prognosis for a person with diabetic ketoacidosis depends on the severity of the disease and the other underlying medical conditions. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a severe and life-threatening complication of diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the cells in our body do not receive the sugar (glucose) they need for energy. This happens while there is plenty of glucose in the bloodstream, but not enough insulin to help convert glucose for use in the cells. The body recognizes this and starts breaking down muscle and fat for energy. This breakdown produces ketones (also called fatty acids), which cause an imbalance in our electrolyte system leading to the ketoacidosis (a metabolic acidosis). The sugar that cannot be used because of the lack of insulin stays in the bloodstream (rather than going into the cell and provide energy). The kidneys filter some of the glucose (suga Continue reading >>