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What Can Lead To Ketoacidosis?

Diabetic Ketoacidosis: A Serious Complication

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 >>

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 >>

Ketosis: What Is Ketosis?

Ketosis: What Is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. Some people encourage ketosis by following a diet called the ketogenic or low-carb diet. The aim of the diet is to try and burn unwanted fat by forcing the body to rely on fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates. Ketosis is also commonly observed in patients with diabetes, as the process can occur if the body does not have enough insulin or is not using insulin correctly. Problems associated with extreme levels of ketosis are more likely to develop in patients with type 1 diabetes compared with type 2 diabetes patients. Ketosis occurs when the body does not have sufficient access to its primary fuel source, glucose. Ketosis describes a condition where fat stores are broken down to produce energy, which also produces ketones, a type of acid. As ketone levels rise, the acidity of the blood also increases, leading to ketoacidosis, a serious condition that can prove fatal. People with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop ketoacidosis, for which emergency medical treatment is required to avoid or treat diabetic coma. Some people follow a ketogenic (low-carb) diet to try to lose weight by forcing the body to burn fat stores. What is ketosis? In normal circumstances, the body's cells use glucose as their primary form of energy. Glucose is typically derived from dietary carbohydrates, including: sugar - such as fruits and milk or yogurt starchy foods - such as bread and pasta The body breaks these down into simple sugars. Glucose can either be used to fuel the body or be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. If there is not enough glucose available to meet energy demands, th Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

Diabetic ketoacidosis is an acute metabolic complication of diabetes characterized by hyperglycemia, hyperketonemia, and metabolic acidosis. Hyperglycemia causes an osmotic diuresis with significant fluid and electrolyte loss. DKA occurs mostly in type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM). It causes nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and can progress to cerebral edema, coma, and death. DKA is diagnosed by detection of hyperketonemia and anion gap metabolic acidosis in the presence of hyperglycemia. Treatment involves volume expansion, insulin replacement, and prevention of hypokalemia. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is most common among patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and develops when insulin levels are insufficient to meet the body’s basic metabolic requirements. DKA is the first manifestation of type 1 DM in a minority of patients. Insulin deficiency can be absolute (eg, during lapses in the administration of exogenous insulin) or relative (eg, when usual insulin doses do not meet metabolic needs during physiologic stress). Common physiologic stresses that can trigger DKA include Some drugs implicated in causing DKA include DKA is less common in type 2 diabetes mellitus, but it may occur in situations of unusual physiologic stress. Ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes is a variant of type 2 diabetes, which is sometimes seen in obese individuals, often of African (including African-American or Afro-Caribbean) origin. People with ketosis-prone diabetes (also referred to as Flatbush diabetes) can have significant impairment of beta cell function with hyperglycemia, and are therefore more likely to develop DKA in the setting of significant hyperglycemia. SGLT-2 inhibitors have been implicated in causing DKA in both type 1 and type 2 DM. Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka) - Topic Overview

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 >>

Ketosis Vs. Ketoacidosis: What You Should Know

Ketosis Vs. Ketoacidosis: What You Should Know

Despite the similarity in name, ketosis and ketoacidosis are two different things. Ketoacidosis refers to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and is a complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus. It’s a life-threatening condition resulting from dangerously high levels of ketones and blood sugar. This combination makes your blood too acidic, which can change the normal functioning of internal organs like your liver and kidneys. It’s critical that you get prompt treatment. DKA can occur very quickly. It may develop in less than 24 hours. It mostly occurs in people with type 1 diabetes whose bodies do not produce any insulin. Several things can lead to DKA, including illness, improper diet, or not taking an adequate dose of insulin. DKA can also occur in individuals with type 2 diabetes who have little or no insulin production. Ketosis is the presence of ketones. It’s not harmful. You can be in ketosis if you’re on a low-carbohydrate diet or fasting, or if you’ve consumed too much alcohol. If you have ketosis, you have a higher than usual level of ketones in your blood or urine, but not high enough to cause acidosis. Ketones are a chemical your body produces when it burns stored fat. Some people choose a low-carb diet to help with weight loss. While there is some controversy over their safety, low-carb diets are generally fine. Talk to your doctor before beginning any extreme diet plan. DKA is the leading cause of death in people under 24 years old who have diabetes. The overall death rate for ketoacidosis is 2 to 5 percent. People under the age of 30 make up 36 percent of DKA cases. Twenty-seven percent of people with DKA are between the ages of 30 and 50, 23 percent are between the ages of 51 and 70, and 14 percent are over the age of 70. Ketosis may cause bad breath. Ket Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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 >>

Symptoms Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis & Treatment Options

Symptoms Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis & Treatment Options

Let’s set the stage first: the sugars in your food are ingested and travel to your intestines where they are released into your bloodstream. This sugar is called glucose. The sugar tries to enter your cells to provide energy but can’t because the sugar molecules are too big. At this point your pancreas produces insulin which attaches to your cells to create openings for the glucose to enter which gives you energy. Now here’s where diabetic ketoacidosis comes in: when the cells in your body are unable to get the sugar they need for energy because you aren’t producing enough insulin, your body starts to break down fat and muscle as fuel. This causes DKA which is when high levels of blood acids called ketones enter the bloodstream. DKA is a serious condition that can lead to a diabetic coma or even death. Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Symptoms DKA is a serious condition and it is important to be aware of its warning signs. Early signs of DKA may include: Thirst or a very dry mouth Frequent urination High blood glucose (sugar) levels Symptoms that follow: Feeling continually tired Dry or flushed skin Nausea or abdominal pain Vomiting that continues for more than 2 hours Difficulty breathings A hard time paying attention or feeling confused Diabetic Ketoacdosis: Treatment Options If your are diagnosed with DKA, you may be treated in the emergency room or admitted into the hospital. From there, you will be given fluids to prevent dehydration and dilute blood sugar. Next, your doctor will replace your electrolytes since those levels probably decreased when your insulin levels dropped. (Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge in your body that help your heart, muscles and nerve cells to function normally.) Finally, you’ll be given insulin to get your body wor Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, And Complications

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 >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Introduction Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a dangerous complication of diabetes caused by a lack of insulin in the body. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the body is unable to use blood sugar (glucose) because there isn't enough insulin. Instead, it breaks down fat as an alternative source of fuel. This causes a build-up of a by-product called ketones. Most cases of diabetic ketoacidosis occur in people with type 1 diabetes, although it can also be a complication of type 2 diabetes. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include: passing large amounts of urine feeling very thirsty vomiting abdominal pain Seek immediate medical assistance if you have any of these symptoms and your blood sugar levels are high. Read more about the symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis. Who is affected by diabetic ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis is a relatively common complication in people with diabetes, particularly children and younger adults who have type 1 diabetes. Younger children under four years of age are thought to be most at risk. In about 1 in 4 cases, diabetic ketoacidosis develops in people who were previously unaware they had type 1 diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis accounts for around half of all diabetes-related hospital admissions in people with type 1 diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis triggers These include: infections and other illnesses not keeping up with recommended insulin injections Read more about potential causes of diabetic ketoacidosis. Diagnosing diabetic ketoacidosis This is a relatively straightforward process. Blood tests can be used to check your glucose levels and any chemical imbalances, such as low levels of potassium. Urine tests can be used to estimate the number of ketones in your body. Blood and urine tests can also be used to check for an underlying infec 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 >>

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 >>

What The Heck Is Ketoacidosis?

What The Heck Is Ketoacidosis?

By Gary Scheiner MS, CDE 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 can kill you. The primary cause of DKA is a lack of working insulin in the body. Let me explain. Normal Fuel Metabolism 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. As you can tell, 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 (see figure below). Abnormal Fuel Metabolism What would happen if you had no insulin? I’m not talking about a minor under-dosage; I’m talking about having none whatsoever. A number of things would start to go wrong. 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, leads to th Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis - Symptoms

Diabetic Ketoacidosis - Symptoms

A A A Diabetic Ketoacidosis Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) results from dehydration during a state of relative insulin deficiency, associated with high blood levels of sugar level and organic acids called ketones. Diabetic ketoacidosis is associated with significant disturbances of the body's chemistry, which resolve with proper therapy. Diabetic ketoacidosis usually occurs in people with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes mellitus (T1DM), but diabetic ketoacidosis can develop in any person with diabetes. Since type 1 diabetes typically starts before age 25 years, diabetic ketoacidosis is most common in this age group, but it may occur at any age. Males and females are equally affected. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when a person with diabetes becomes dehydrated. As the body produces a stress response, hormones (unopposed by insulin due to the insulin deficiency) begin to break down muscle, fat, and liver cells into glucose (sugar) and fatty acids for use as fuel. These hormones include glucagon, growth hormone, and adrenaline. These fatty acids are converted to ketones by a process called oxidation. The body consumes its own muscle, fat, and liver cells for fuel. In diabetic ketoacidosis, the body shifts from its normal fed metabolism (using carbohydrates for fuel) to a fasting state (using fat for fuel). The resulting increase in blood sugar occurs, because insulin is unavailable to transport sugar into cells for future use. As blood sugar levels rise, the kidneys cannot retain the extra sugar, which is dumped into the urine, thereby increasing urination and causing dehydration. Commonly, about 10% of total body fluids are lost as the patient slips into diabetic ketoacidosis. Significant loss of potassium and other salts in the excessive urination is also common. The most common Continue reading >>

Cardiovascular Complications Of Ketoacidosis

Cardiovascular Complications Of Ketoacidosis

US Pharm. 2016;41(2):39-42. ABSTRACT: Ketoacidosis is a serious medical emergency requiring hospitalization. It is most commonly associated with diabetes and alcoholism, but each type is treated differently. Some treatments for ketoacidosis, such as insulin and potassium, are considered high-alert medications, and others could result in electrolyte imbalances. Several cardiovascular complications are associated with ketoacidosis as a result of electrolyte imbalances, including arrhythmias, ECG changes, ventricular tachycardia, and cardiac arrest, which can be prevented with appropriate initial treatment. Acute myocardial infarction can predispose patients with diabetes to ketoacidosis and worsen their cardiovascular outcomes. Cardiopulmonary complications such as pulmonary edema and respiratory failure have also been seen with ketoacidosis. Overall, the mortality rate of ketoacidosis is low with proper and urgent medical treatment. Hospital pharmacists can help ensure standardization and improve the safety of pharmacotherapy for ketoacidosis. In the outpatient setting, pharmacists can educate patients on prevention of ketoacidosis and when to seek medical attention. Metabolic acidosis occurs as a result of increased endogenous acid production, a decrease in bicarbonate, or a buildup of endogenous acids.1 Ketoacidosis is a metabolic disorder in which regulation of ketones is disrupted, leading to excess secretion, accumulation, and ultimately a decrease in the blood pH.2 Acidosis is defined by a serum pH <7.35, while a pH <6.8 is considered incompatible with life.1,3 Ketone formation occurs by breakdown of fatty acids. Insulin inhibits beta-oxidation of fatty acids; thus, low levels of insulin accelerate ketone formation, which can be seen in patients with diabetes. Extr Continue reading >>

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