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What Does Ketoacidosis Feel Like

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

Topic Overview What is diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)? 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. What causes DKA? 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. What are the symptoms? Your blood sugar may be quite high before you notice symptoms, which include: Flushed, hot, dry skin. Blurred vision. 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. How is DKA diagnosed? 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. How is it treated? When ketoacidosis is severe, it must be treated in the hospital, often in an Continue reading >>

Why Does Diabetes Cause Excessive Thirst?

Why Does Diabetes Cause Excessive Thirst?

7 0 We’ve written before about the signs and symptoms of diabetes. While there are a lot of sources about what symptoms diabetes causes, and even some good information about why they’re bad for you, what you don’t often get are the “whys”. And while the “whys” aren’t necessarily critical for your long-term health, they can help you to understand what’s going on with your body and why it acts the way it does. That, in turn, can help with acceptance and understanding of how to better treat the symptoms, which in turn can help you stay on a good diabetes management regimen. In short, you don’t NEED to know why diabetes causes excessive thirst, but knowing the mechanism behind it can make your blood glucose control regimen make more sense and help you stick to it. So why DOES diabetes cause thirst? First, we’d like to start by saying that excessive thirst is not a good indicator of diabetes. For many people, the symptom creeps up so slowly that it’s almost impossible to determine if your thirst has noticeably increased (unless you keep a spreadsheet of how much water you drink, in which case you also probably get tested pretty regularly anyway). It’s also a common enough symptom that a sudden increase in thirst can mean almost anything. Some conditions that cause thirst increases include allergies, the flu, the common cold, almost anything that causes a fever, and dehydration caused by vomiting or diarrhea. So while excessive thirst is one of those diabetes symptoms that happens, and needs to be addressed, it’s not always a great sign that you should immediately go out and get an A1C test. Why does diabetes cause thirst? Excessive thirst, when linked to another condition as a symptom or comorbidity, is called polydipsia. It’s usually one of the Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic acidosis is a life-threatening condition that can occur in people with type 1 diabetes. Less commonly, it can also occur with type 2 diabetes. Term watch Ketones: breakdown products from the use of fat stores for energy. Ketoacidosis: another name for diabetic acidosis. It happens when a lack of insulin leads to: Diabetic acidosis requires immediate hospitalisation for urgent treatment with fluids and intravenous insulin. It can usually be avoided through proper treatment of Type 1 diabetes. However, ketoacidosis can also occur with well-controlled diabetes if you get a severe infection or other serious illness, such as a heart attack or stroke, which can cause vomiting and resistance to the normal dose of injected insulin. What causes diabetic acidosis? The condition is caused by a lack of insulin, most commonly when doses are missed. While insulin's main function is to lower the blood sugar level, it also reduces the burning of body fat. If the insulin level drops significantly, the body will start burning fat uncontrollably while blood sugar levels rise. Glucose will then begin to show up in your urine, along with ketone bodies from fat breakdown that turn the body acidic. The body attempts to reduce the level of acid by increasing the rate and depth of breathing. This blows off carbon dioxide in the breath, which tends to correct the acidosis temporarily (known as acidotic breathing). At the same time, the high secretion of glucose into the urine causes large quantities of water and salts to be lost, putting the body at serious risk of dehydration. Eventually, over-breathing becomes inadequate to control the acidosis. What are the symptoms? Since diabetic acidosis is most often linked with high blood sugar levels, symptoms are the same as those for diabetes Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

Topic Overview What is diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)? 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. What causes DKA? 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. Blurred vision. 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. How is DKA diagnosed? 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 g Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

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 >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

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. What causes DKA? 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. What are the symptoms? Your blood sugar may be quite high before you notice symptoms, which include: Flushed, hot, dry skin. Blurred vision. 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 odour. Loss of appetite, belly pain, and vomiting. Confusion. How is DKA diagnosed? 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. How is it treated? When ketoacidosis is severe, it must be treated in the hospital, often in an intensive care unit. Treatment invo Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

Topic Overview What is diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)? 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. What causes DKA? 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. What are the symptoms? Your blood sugar may be quite high before you notice symptoms, which include: Flushed, hot, dry skin. Blurred vision. 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. How is DKA diagnosed? 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. How is it treated? When ketoacidosis is severe, it must be treated in the hospital, often in an Continue reading >>

> Hyperglycemia And Diabetic Ketoacidosis

> 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 >>

How To Prevent Diabetic Ketoacidosis

How To Prevent Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetes, if not properly managed, can have nasty consequences, including vision loss, amputations, heart disease and stroke or kidney failure. Diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, is another one of those consequences, according to Dr. Linda Hermiller, an endocrinologist and diabetes expert at St. Elizabeth’s Regional Diabetes Center in Covington. Diabetes causes blood sugar levels to climb too high because the body either can’t make insulin in order to break down the sugar from food to fuel cell activity (Type 1 diabetes) or because the body can’t properly utilize the insulin it does have (Type 2). Over time, excessively high blood sugar levels lead to a host of complications. What is DKA? DKA occurs when the body starts breaking down stored fat for fuel because it can’t utilize insulin to break down sugar. When fat is metabolized, it produces chemicals called ketones that build up in the blood, and those ketones cause the blood to become acidic. High ketone levels are an indication that diabetes isn’t being properly managed. They’re also extremely dangerous. DKA, if not recognized and treated quickly, can be fatal, according to Dr. Hermiller. “DKA is an acute metabolic emergency that more commonly happens in patients with Type 1 diabetes, but in unique situations may occur in those with Type 2,” Dr. Hermiller said. Common causes of DKA In many cases, people develop DKA after a stomach bug or other illness; sometimes it occurs when people aren’t taking their insulin as directed, or they aren’t taking enough insulin, she said. Blood sugar levels rise sharply, and the body begins producing ketones. The best way to prevent DKA is good diabetes management, including checking blood sugar frequently. Guidelines call for checking for ketones in the urine (you ca Continue reading >>

What A High Blood Sugar Feels Like.

What A High Blood Sugar Feels Like.

The American Diabetes Association cites the following symptoms as indicative of high blood sugar: High blood glucose [Editor’s note: Duh] High levels of sugar in the urine Frequent urination Increased thirst And if high blood sugar goes untreated? “Hyperglycemia can be a serious problem if you don’t treat it, so it’s important to treat as soon as you detect it. If you fail to treat hyperglycemia, a condition called ketoacidosis (diabetic coma) could occur. Ketoacidosis develops when your body doesn’t have enough insulin. Without insulin, your body can’t use glucose for fuel, so your body breaks down fats to use for energy. When your body breaks down fats, waste products called ketones are produced. Your body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and will try to get rid of them through the urine. Unfortunately, the body cannot release all the ketones and they build up in your blood, which can lead to ketoacidosis.” – ADA website But what does a high blood sugar feel like? Because when you see someone who is working through an elevated blood sugar, they may not look terribly out of sorts. But what is happening inside of them is real, and plays out in a myriad of ways for every person with diabetes. I’ve tried to write about it several times, but each high is different, and affects me in different ways: “It’s a thick feeling in the base of your brain, like someone’s cracked open your head and replaced your gray matter with sticky jam. I find myself zoning out and staring at things, and my eyeballs feel dry and like they’re tethered to my head by frayed ropes instead of optic nerves. Everything is slow and heavy and whipped with heavy cream.” – Oh, High! “There’s something about a high blood sugar that makes my body feel weighted down, l Continue reading >>

Jamie On Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Jamie On Diabetic Ketoacidosis

We lost our dear and gentle Jamie in 2009 to cancer and diabetes. Jamie and her cat Boots were long-time friends on the Feline Diabetes Message Board. Jamie will live forever in our hearts. I am copying here what she wrote about her own DKA episode. Thank you, Jamie, for one of your many legacies. What does DKA Feel Like? WARNING: Reading this story may be upsetting. The physical manifestations (and, to a lesser extent, the mental manifestations) of Diabetic Ketoacidosis, or DKA, as I have experienced and thus described, can be summed up very simply: suffering. Reading this story is reading about suffering. It's not all graphic; the bad bit begins and ends at the asterisks (***). You may want to just skip over this if you're not in a good place at the moment. "Not in a good place" might include: your kitty is newly diagnosed with feline diabetes and you are feeling overwhelmed; you have a kitty who is currently experiencing ketosis or DKA; you have lost a kitty to DKA, especially if you've lost your kitty recently; your kitty's diabetes is not under good control, and you're stressing. Please understand that in posting this story, I am not trying to cause or exacerbate pain, grief, or guilt on anyone's part. I only want people to be aware of the exceptional seriousness and danger of DKA, and how careful monitoring of our diabetic cats can help prevent suffering on their part. If, after reading this story, you find you need to talk, email me or send me a private message through the board. You may also want to visit the FDMB forums for Health, Community, and Grief where you can talk to others. Remember that everyone here understands the stress and worry that comes with having a beloved feline companion with diabetes. I tend to worry more about Boots' diabetes than I do my Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka): Care Instructions

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka): Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) happens when the body does not have enough insulin and can't get the sugar it needs for energy. When the body can't use sugar for energy, it starts to use fat for energy. This process makes fatty acids called ketones. The ketones build up in the blood and change the chemical balance in your body. This problem can be very dangerous and needs to be treated. Without treatment, it can lead to a coma or death. DKA occurs most often in people with type 1 diabetes. But people with type 2 diabetes also can get it. DKA can be caused by many things. It can happen if you don't take enough insulin. It can also happen if you have an infection or illness like the flu. Sometimes it happens if you are very dehydrated. DKA can only be treated with insulin and fluids. These are often given in a vein (IV). Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take. How can you care for yourself at home? To reduce your chance of ketoacidosis: Take your insulin and other diabetes medicines on time and in the right dose. If an infection caused your DKA and your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics. Test your blood sugar before meals and at bedtime or as often as your doctor advises. This is the best way to know when your blood sugar is high so you can treat it early. Watching for symptoms is not as helpful. This is because you may not have symptoms until your blood sugar is very high. Or you may not notice them. Teach others a 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 (dka): What Is The Difference?

Ketosis Vs. Ketoacidosis (dka): What Is The Difference?

Let’s break it down so that you can understand exactly what ketosis is and how it differs from ketoacidosis. But the states they refer to are nothing alike. In this case, maybe mistakes are understandable. Many people who believe that ketosis is dangerous are mixing it up with another state called "ketoacidosis." The two words do sound very similar. And some people simply make mistakes. Profit motives tend to muddy up the works when it comes to getting clear, factual information about your health. Well, there are a lot of individuals and companies which all have their own goals and motivations. Where do these misperceptions come from? Here’s the thing though … that is all misinformation. You then Googled something like, "low carb dangerous" and found a list of link-bait articles informing you that low-carb is a ketogenic diet, and ketosis is a dangerous metabolic state which can be fatal. And then maybe someone said something to you like, "What are you thinking? Low-carb is a dangerous diet." If you are thinking about starting a low-carb diet, maybe you have mentioned it to some of your family or friends. By the time you finish reading this article, you will understand why low-carb is a safe diet. Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

A Preventable Crisis People who have had diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, will tell you it’s worse than any flu they’ve ever had, describing an overwhelming feeling of lethargy, unquenchable thirst, and unrelenting vomiting. “It’s sort of like having molasses for blood,” says George. “Everything moves so slow, the mouth can feel so dry, and there is a cloud over your head. Just before diagnosis, when I was in high school, I would get out of a class and go to the bathroom to pee for about 10–12 minutes. Then I would head to the water fountain and begin drinking water for minutes at a time, usually until well after the next class had begun.” George, generally an upbeat person, said that while he has experienced varying degrees of DKA in his 40 years or so of having diabetes, “…at its worst, there is one reprieve from its ill feeling: Unfortunately, that is a coma.” But DKA can be more than a feeling of extreme discomfort, and it can result in more than a coma. “It has the potential to kill,” says Richard Hellman, MD, past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. “DKA is a medical emergency. It’s the biggest medical emergency related to diabetes. It’s also the most likely time for a child with diabetes to die.” DKA occurs when there is not enough insulin in the body, resulting in high blood glucose; the person is dehydrated; and too many ketones are present in the bloodstream, making it acidic. The initial insulin deficit is most often caused by the onset of diabetes, by an illness or infection, or by not taking insulin when it is needed. Ketones are your brain’s “second-best fuel,” Hellman says, with glucose being number one. If you don’t have enough glucose in your cells to supply energy to your brain, yo Continue reading >>

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