Why Is There Hyperkalemia In Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
Lack of insulin, thus no proper metabolism of glucose, ketones form, pH goes down, H+ concentration rises, our body tries to compensate by exchanging K+ from inside the cells for H+ outside the cells, hoping to lower H+ concentration, but at the same time elevating serum potassium. Most people are seriously dehydrated, so are in acute kidney failure, thus the kidneys aren’t able to excrete the excess of potassium from the blood, compounding the problem. On the other hand, many in reality are severely potassium depleted, so once lots of fluid so rehydration and a little insulin is administered serum potassium will plummet, so needs to be monitored 2 hourly - along with glucose, sodium and kidney function - to prevent severe hypokalemia causing fatal arrhythmias, like we experienced decades ago when this wasn’t so well understood yet. In practice, once the patient started peeing again, we started adding potassium chloride to our infusion fluids, the surplus potassium would be peed out by our kidneys so no risk for hyperkalemia. 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus. Signs and symptoms may include vomiting, abdominal pain, deep gasping breathing, increased urination, weakness, confusion, and occasionally loss of consciousness. A person's breath may develop a specific smell. Onset of symptoms is usually rapid. In some cases people may not realize they previously had diabetes. DKA happens most often in those with type 1 diabetes, but can also occur in those with other types of diabetes under certain circumstances. Triggers may include infection, not taking insulin correctly, stroke, and certain medications such as steroids. DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids which produces acidic ketone bodies. DKA is typically diagnosed when testing finds high blood sugar, low blood pH, and ketoacids in either the blood or urine. The primary treatment of DKA is with intravenous fluids and insulin. Depending on the severity, insulin may be given intravenously or by injection under the skin. Usually potassium is also needed to prevent the development of low blood potassium. Throughout treatment blood sugar and potassium levels should be regularly checked. Antibiotics may be required in those with an underlying infection. In those with severely low blood pH, sodium bicarbonate may be given; however, its use is of unclear benefit and typically not recommended. Rates of DKA vary around the world. In the United Kingdom, about 4% of people with type 1 diabetes develop DKA each year, while in Malaysia the condition affects about 25% a year. DKA was first described in 1886 and, until the introduction of insulin therapy in the 1920s, it was almost univ Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis Symptoms
What is diabetic ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis, also referred to as simply ketoacidosis or DKA, is a serious and even life-threatening complication of type 1 diabetes. DKA is rare in people with type 2 diabetes. DKA is caused when insulin levels are low and not enough glucose can get into the body's cells. Without glucose for energy, the body starts to burn fat for energy. Ketones are products that are created when the body burns fat. The buildup of ketones causes the blood to become more acidic. The high levels of blood glucose in DKA cause the kidneys to excrete glucose and water, leading to dehydration and imbalances in body electrolyte levels. Diabetic ketoacidosis most commonly develops either due to an interruption in insulin treatment or a severe illness, including the flu. What are the symptoms and signs of diabetic ketoacidosis? The development of DKA is usually a slow process. However, if vomiting develops, the symptoms can progress more rapidly due to the more rapid loss of body fluid. Excessive urination, which occurs because the kidneys try to rid the body of excess glucose, and water is excreted along with the glucose High blood glucose (sugar) levels The presence of ketones in the urine Other signs and symptoms of ketoacidosis occur as the condition progresses: These include: Fatigue, which can be severe Flushing of the skin Fruity odor to the breath, caused by ketones Difficulty breathing Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis, Treatment, Medication What should I do if I think I may have, or someone I know may diabetic ketoacidosis? You should test your urine for ketones if you suspect you have early symptoms or warning signs of ketoacidosis. Call your health-care professional if your urine shows high levels of ketones. High levels of ketones and high blood sug Continue reading >>
Can People With Type 1 Diabetes Develop Dka Without High Blood Sugar?
“Can people with type 1 diabetes develop DKA without high blood sugar?” DKA is short for diabetic ketoacidosis and is a life threatening condition. I’ve seen the question pop up a lot lately so I asked two endocrinologists to answer this question. Experts Weigh In Dr. Richard Steed, an endocrinologist from Georgia with 25 years of experience explained that, “Ketoacidosis will occur in anyone when insulin levels drop low enough. In people with diabetes, falling insulin levels will usually trigger a high sugar well before ketoacidosis starts, causing high blood sugar to typically go hand in hand with ketoacidosis.” Dr. Brad Eilerman, an endocrinologist from Kentucky explained that “Ketoacidosis occurs when the body over produces ketone bodies, typically in response to a lack of available glucose to use as intracellular fuel. In diabetic ketoacidosis, the rationale for the lack of intracellular glucose is a relative lack of insulin. Typically, this is associated with a high serum glucose because glucose taken in or produced by the liver has nowhere to go. If the patient has had a prolonged period of fasting to the point of protein calorie malnutrition, there may not be calories in order to produce glucose from the liver. This can lead to ketosis by itself. When combines with a lack of insulin, it can cause ketoacidosis,” writes Dr. Eilerman. Caution With Alcohol Dr. Steed writes that, “under the right circumstances, ketoacidosis can occur even in people without diabetes. Perhaps the commonest situation is starvation plus alcohol intake. In this situation, the starvation causes the body’s store of glucose as glycogen to become depleted. Then the body must depend on gluconeognesis (making glucose from protein) to sustain normal blood sugar levels. Alcohol w Continue reading >>
Understanding And Treating Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious metabolic disorder that can occur in animals with diabetes mellitus (DM).1,2 Veterinary technicians play an integral role in managing and treating patients with this life-threatening condition. In addition to recognizing the clinical signs of this disorder and evaluating the patient's response to therapy, technicians should understand how this disorder occurs. DM is caused by a relative or absolute lack of insulin production by the pancreatic b-cells or by inactivity or loss of insulin receptors, which are usually found on membranes of skeletal muscle, fat, and liver cells.1,3 In dogs and cats, DM is classified as either insulin-dependent (the body is unable to produce sufficient insulin) or non-insulin-dependent (the body produces insulin, but the tissues in the body are resistant to the insulin).4 Most dogs and cats that develop DKA have an insulin deficiency. Insulin has many functions, including the enhancement of glucose uptake by the cells for energy.1 Without insulin, the cells cannot access glucose, thereby causing them to undergo starvation.2 The unused glucose remains in the circulation, resulting in hyperglycemia. To provide cells with an alternative energy source, the body breaks down adipocytes, releasing free fatty acids (FFAs) into the bloodstream. The liver subsequently converts FFAs to triglycerides and ketone bodies. These ketone bodies (i.e., acetone, acetoacetic acid, b-hydroxybutyric acid) can be used as energy by the tissues when there is a lack of glucose or nutritional intake.1,2 The breakdown of fat, combined with the body's inability to use glucose, causes many pets with diabetes to present with weight loss, despite having a ravenous appetite. If diabetes is undiagnosed or uncontrolled, a series of metab Continue reading >>
> 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 >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis And Hyperglycaemic Hyperosmolar State
The hallmark of diabetes is a raised plasma glucose resulting from an absolute or relative lack of insulin action. Untreated, this can lead to two distinct yet overlapping life-threatening emergencies. Near-complete lack of insulin will result in diabetic ketoacidosis, which is therefore more characteristic of type 1 diabetes, whereas partial insulin deficiency will suppress hepatic ketogenesis but not hepatic glucose output, resulting in hyperglycaemia and dehydration, and culminating in the hyperglycaemic hyperosmolar state. Hyperglycaemia is characteristic of diabetic ketoacidosis, particularly in the previously undiagnosed, but it is the acidosis and the associated electrolyte disorders that make this a life-threatening condition. Hyperglycaemia is the dominant feature of the hyperglycaemic hyperosmolar state, causing severe polyuria and fluid loss and leading to cellular dehydration. Progression from uncontrolled diabetes to a metabolic emergency may result from unrecognised diabetes, sometimes aggravated by glucose containing drinks, or metabolic stress due to infection or intercurrent illness and associated with increased levels of counter-regulatory hormones. Since diabetic ketoacidosis and the hyperglycaemic hyperosmolar state have a similar underlying pathophysiology the principles of treatment are similar (but not identical), and the conditions may be considered two extremes of a spectrum of disease, with individual patients often showing aspects of both. Pathogenesis of DKA and HHS Insulin is a powerful anabolic hormone which helps nutrients to enter the cells, where these nutrients can be used either as fuel or as building blocks for cell growth and expansion. The complementary action of insulin is to antagonise the breakdown of fuel stores. Thus, the relea Continue reading >>
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 >>
How Does Ketoacidosis Affect The Human Brain?
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is the body’s emergency reaction to glucose starvation in the absence of insulin. It is a disastrous reaction — in general, it makes things worse rather than better, and starts a vicious cycle of blood acidity, rising blood glucose, dehydration, and blood hyperosmolality (high concentration of dissolved stuff) that can be hard to break. One of the hardest-hit organs in DKA is the brain, due to the dehydration and acidic blood entering that sensitive organ. Severe DKA may lead to brain swelling (edema) which is life-threatening. But recent studies have shown that even a short, apparently fully-recovered stint of DKA leads to measurable brain injury. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life–threatening consequence of diabetes. DKA occurs when there is a lack of insulin in the body causing hyperglycemia. As a result of the inability of glucose to enter the cells, the body must find other means to obtain energy. As such, fat breakdown occurs resulting in the accumulation of fatty acids. The fatty acids are metabolized to ketones that cause the blood to become acidotic (pH less than7.3). Because glucose remains in the blood, there is an increase in thirst and drinking to eliminate the solute load of glucose, which also results in increased urination (polyuria and polydipsia). Thus, the combination of increased serum acidity, weight loss, polyuria, and polydipsia may lead to extreme dehydration, coma, or brain damage. Without a doubt, the most severe acute complication of DKA is cerebral edema. Many cases of new onset type 1 diabetes present DKA (15-70 percent depending on age and geographic region, according to multiple studies), hence the importance of an early diagnosis of diabetes in order to avoid potential consequences. Much research is be Continue reading >>
What Is The Treatments For Ketoacidosis?
Management of diabetic ketoacidos Time: 0–60 mins 1. Commence 0.9% sodium chloride If systolic BP > 90 mmHg, give 1 L over 60 mins If systolic BP < 90 mmHg, give 500 mL over 10–15 mins, then re-assess. If BP remains < 90 mmHg, seek senior review 2. Commence insulin treatment 50 U human soluble insulin in 50 mL 0.9% sodium chloride infused intravenously at 0.1 U/kg body weight/hr Continue with SC basal insulin analogue if usually taken by patient 3. Perform further investigations: see text 4. Establish monitoring schedule Hourly capillary blood glucose and ketone testing Venous bicarbonate and potassium after 1 and 2 hrs, then every 2 hrs Plasma electrolytes every 4 hrs Clinical monitoring of O2 saturation, pulse, BP, respiratory rate and urine output every hour 5. Treat any precipitating cause Time: 60 mins to 12 hrs • IV infusion of 0.9% sodium chloride with potassium chloride added as indicated below 1 L over 2 hrs 1 L over 2 hrs 1 L over 4 hrs 1 L over 4 hrs 1 L over 6 hrs • Add 10% glucose 125 mL/hr IV when glucose < 14 mmol/L • Be more cautious with fluid replacement in elderly, young people, pregnant patients and those with renal or heart failure. If plasma sodium is > 155 mmol/L, 0.45% sodium chloride may be used. • Adjust potassium chloride infusion Plasma potassium (mmol/L) Potassium replacement (mmol/L of infusion) > 5.5 Nil 3.5–5.5 40 < 3.5 Senior review – additional potassium required Time: 12–24 hrs • Ketonaemia and acidosis should have resolved (blood ketones < 0.3 mmol/L, venous bicarbonate > 18 mmol/L). Request senior review if not improving • If patient is not eating and drinking Continue IV insulin infusion at lower rate of 2–3 U/kg/hr Continue IV fluid replacement and biochemical monitoring • If ketoacidosis has resolved and Continue reading >>
How Does Diabetic Ketoacidosis Cause Vomiting?
DKA can occur in people who are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and have had ketones building up in their blood prior to the start of treatment. It can also occur in people already diagnosed with type 1 diabetes that have missed an insulin dose, have an infection, or have suffered a traumatic event or injury. With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to make the hormone insulin, which the body’s cells need in order to take in glucose from the blood. In the case of type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to make sufficient amounts of insulin in order to take in glucose from the blood. Glucose, a simple sugar we get from the foods we eat, is necessary for making the energy our cells need to function. People with diabetes can’t get glucose into their cells, so their bodies look for alternative energy sources. Meanwhile, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, and by the time DKA occurs, blood glucose levels are often greater than 22 mmol/L (400 mg/dL) while insulin levels are very low. Since glucose isn’t available for cells to use, fat from fat cells is broken down for energy instead, releasing ketones. Ketones accumulate in the blood, causing it to become more acidic. As a result, many of the enzymes that control the body’s metabolic processes aren’t able to function as well. A higher level of ketones also affects levels of sugar and electrolytes in the body. As ketones accumulate in the blood, more ketones will be passed in the urine, taking sodium and potassium salts out with them. Over time, levels of sodium and potassium salts in the body become depleted, which can cause nausea and vomiting. The result is a vicious cycle. The most important prevention strategies are to monitor blood glucose levels routinely, keep blood glucose levels controlled (e.g., Continue reading >>
Why Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis So Dangerous?
The main thing, which Carol Linn Miller so very correctly points out, is that diabetic ketoacidosis can be fatal. But having been through it, what makes the condition so dangerous is you don't necessarily feel like you need to get it treated. You go off into a kind of la-la land, and don't take necessary action. If you wait too long, you may die. I didn't go to an ER until I suddenly went blind, and it turned out I was near death. I knew something was wrong, but the part of my brain that tells you "Danger! Danger!" wasn't working. Continue reading >>