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 >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis And Cerebral Edema.
Abstract Cerebral edema is the leading cause of death in children presenting in diabetic ketoacidosis and occurs in 0.2 to 1% of cases. The osmolar gradient caused by the high blood glucose results in water shift from the intracelluar fluid (ICF) to the extracellular fluid (ECF) space and contraction of cell volume. Correction with insulin and intravenous fluids can result in a rapid reduction in effective osmolarity, reversal of the fluid shift and the development of cerebral edema. The goals for treatment should be a combination of intravenous fluid and insulin that results in a gradual reduction of the effective osmolarity over a 36- to 48-hour period, thereby avoiding rapid expansion of the ICF compartment and brain swelling. 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 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 >>
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 >>
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: Not Always Due To Type 1 Diabetes
This article discusses how to diagnose and manage patients with ketosis prone type 2 diabetes Patients presenting with diabetic ketoacidosis may have type 1 or type 2 diabetes Diabetic ketoacidosis should be treated with insulin in accordance with nationally agreed guidance After treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis, patients found to have type 2 diabetes may not require lifelong insulin treatment Consider ketosis prone type 2 diabetes in older, overweight, non-white patients who present with diabetic ketoacidosis at their first presentation of diabetes; this diagnosis is also a possibility in patients with any features that are atypical for type 1 diabetes Discharge all patients on insulin and arrange for specialist follow-up Under specialist supervision consider whether insulin can be down-titrated on the basis of clinical progress and, where possible, C peptide and antibody measurements Who gets diabetic ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is not just the hallmark of absolute insulin deficiency in type 1 diabetes—it is increasingly being seen in people presenting with type 2 diabetes.1 2 This is at odds with traditional physiological teaching—that clinically significant ketosis does not occur in the presence of insulin concentrations associated with type 2 diabetes because there will always be sufficient insulin to suppress lipolysis (fig 1⇓).3 Current knowledge suggests that some people with type 2 diabetes may develop acute reductions in insulin production, which, coupled with insulin resistance, can cause DKA, usually without a precipitant.4 This is particularly so in African-Caribbean and other non-white ethnic groups.5 6 This potentially life threatening presentation of type 2 diabetes is referred to as ketosis prone type 2 diabetes (also Flatbush or t Continue reading >>
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) happens when your blood sugar is high and your insulin level is low. This imbalance in the body causes a build-up of ketones. Ketones are toxic. If DKA isn’t treated, it can lead to diabetic coma and even death. DKA mainly affects people who have type 1 diabetes. But it can also happen with other types of diabetes, including type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes (during pregnancy). DKA is a very serious condition. If you have diabetes and think you may have DKA, contact your doctor or get to a hospital right away. The first symptoms to appear are usually: frequent urination. The next stage of DKA symptoms include: vomiting (usually more than once) confusion or trouble concentrating a fruity odor on the breath. The main cause of DKA is not enough insulin. A lack of insulin means sugar can’t get into your cells. Your cells need sugar for energy. This causes your body’s glucose levels to rise. To get energy, the body starts to burn fat. This process causes ketones to build up. Ketones can poison the body. High blood glucose levels can also cause you to urinate often. This leads to a lack of fluids in the body (dehydration). DKA can be caused by missing an insulin dose, eating poorly, or feeling stressed. An infection or other illness (such as pneumonia or a urinary tract infection) can also lead to DKA. If you have signs of infection (fever, cough, or sore throat), contact your doctor. You will want to make sure you are getting the right treatment. For some people, DKA may be the first sign that they have diabetes. When you are sick, you need to watch your blood sugar level very closely so that it doesn’t get too high or too low. Ask your doctor what your critical blood sugar level is. Most patients should watch their glucose levels c Continue reading >>
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
Diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, is a serious health problem that can happen to a person with diabetes. It happens when chemicals called ketones build up in the blood. Normally, the cells of your body take in and use glucose as a source of energy. Glucose moves through the body in the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone that helps your cells take in the glucose from the blood. If you have diabetes, your cells can’t take in and use this glucose in a normal way. This may be because your body doesn’t make enough insulin. Or it may be because your cells don’t respond to it normally. As a result, glucose builds up in your bloodstream and doesn’t reach your cells. Without glucose to use, the cells in your body burn fat instead of glucose for energy. When cells burn fat, they make ketones. High levels of ketones can poison the body. High levels of glucose can also build up in your blood and cause other symptoms. Ketoacidosis also changes the amount of other substances in your blood. These include electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and bicarbonate. This can lead to other problems. Ketoacidosis happens most often in a person with type 1 diabetes. This is a condition where the body does not make enough insulin. In rare cases, ketoacidosis can happen in a person with type 2 diabetes. It can happen when they are under stress, like when they are sick, or when they have taken certain medicines that change how their bodies handle glucose. Diabetic ketoacidosis is pretty common. It is more common in younger people. Women have it more often than men do. What causes diabetic ketoacidosis? High levels of ketones and glucose in your blood can cause ketoacidosis. This might happen if you: Don’t know you have diabetes, and your body is breaking down too much fat Know you have dia Continue reading >>
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a buildup of acids in the blood. It is a life-threatening complication of diabetes resulting from not having enough insulin. It may happen with type 1 diabetes. (It rarely happens with type 2 diabetes.) It’s an emergency that must be treated right away. If ketoacidosis is not treated right away, it can cause coma or death. What is the cause? Diabetic ketoacidosis happens when the body does not have enough insulin. Without insulin, sugars in the blood cannot move out of the blood and into the body’s cells, so the cells burn fats instead of sugar for energy. The burning of fats makes byproducts called ketones. The ketones build up to poisonous and dangerous levels in the blood. Usually the blood sugar is also very high. Ketoacidosis can happen if you skip doses of insulin. Or it may happen if there is a change in your life, such as: Infection Injury Heart attack Surgery Pregnancy Other types of physical or emotional stress If you are using an insulin pump, it may happen if you stop getting insulin because there is a kink in the tube or the tube comes out. Sometimes you may not know you have diabetes until ketoacidosis occurs. When the pancreas stops making insulin, it happens over a short period of time. In just a few days your blood sugar can get very high and ketones can build up to a high level very fast. It may happen so fast that ketoacidosis symptoms are the first symptoms of diabetes that you have. What are the symptoms? Symptoms of ketoacidosis may include: Shortness of breath Fruity smelling breath Very dry mouth Nausea and vomiting Symptoms of high blood sugar may include: Blurry vision Dry mouth Feeling very thirsty and drinking a lot Urinating a lot Tiredness Several hours to a couple of days after symptoms start, ketoacidosis may Continue reading >>
As fat is broken down, acids called ketones build up in the blood and urine. In high levels, ketones are poisonous. This condition is known as ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is sometimes the first sign of type 1 diabetes in people who have not yet been diagnosed. It can also occur in someone who has already been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Infection, injury, a serious illness, missing doses of insulin shots, or surgery can lead to DKA in people with type 1 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but it is less common. It is usually triggered by uncontrolled blood sugar, missing doses of medicines, or a severe illness. Continue reading >>
Diabetes With Ketone Bodies In Dogs
Studies show that female dogs (particularly non-spayed) are more prone to DKA, as are older canines. Diabetic ketoacidosis is best classified through the presence of ketones that exist in the liver, which are directly correlated to the lack of insulin being produced in the body. This is a very serious complication, requiring immediate veterinary intervention. Although a number of dogs can be affected mildly, the majority are very ill. Some dogs will not recover despite treatment, and concurrent disease has been documented in 70% of canines diagnosed with DKA. Diabetes with ketone bodies is also described in veterinary terms as diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA. It is a severe complication of diabetes mellitus. Excess ketone bodies result in acidosis and electrolyte abnormalities, which can lead to a crisis situation for your dog. If left in an untreated state, this condition can and will be fatal. Some dogs who are suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis may present as systemically well. Others will show severe illness. Symptoms may be seen as listed below: Change in appetite (either increase or decrease) Increased thirst Frequent urination Vomiting Abdominal pain Mental dullness Coughing Fatigue or weakness Weight loss Sometimes sweet smelling breath is evident Slow, deep respiration. There may also be other symptoms present that accompany diseases that can trigger DKA, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease. While some dogs may live fairly normal lives with this condition before it is diagnosed, most canines who become sick will do so within a week of the start of the illness. There are four influences that can bring on DKA: Fasting Insulin deficiency as a result of unknown and untreated diabetes, or insulin deficiency due to an underlying disease that in turn exacerba 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 Dka Happens And What To Do About It
Certified Diabetes Educator Gary Scheiner offers an overview of diabetic ketoacidosis. (excerpted from Think Like A Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes With Insulin by Gary Scheiner MS, CDE, DaCapo Press, 2011) Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a condition in which the blood becomes highly acidic as a result of dehydration and excessive ketone (acid) production. When bodily fluids become acidic, some of the body’s systems stop functioning properly. It is a serious condition that will make you violently ill and it can kill you. The primary cause of DKA is a lack of working insulin in the body. Most of the body’s cells burn primarily sugar (glucose) for energy. Many cells also burn fat, but in much smaller amounts. Glucose happens to be a very “clean” form of energy—there are virtually no waste products left over when you burn it up. Fat, on the other hand, is a “dirty” source of energy. When fat is burned, there are waste products produced. These waste products are called “ketones.” Ketones are acid molecules that can pollute the bloodstream and affect the body’s delicate pH balance if produced in large quantities. Luckily, we don’t tend to burn huge amounts of fat at one time, and the ketones that are produced can be broken down during the process of glucose metabolism. Glucose and ketones can “jump into the fire” together. It is important to have an ample supply of glucose in the body’s cells. That requires two things: sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream, and insulin to shuttle the sugar into the cells. A number of things would start to go wrong if you have no insulin in the bloodstream: Without insulin, glucose cannot get into the body’s cells. As a result, the cells begin burning large amounts of fat for energy. This, of course, Continue reading >>
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 >>