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Why Does Ketoacidosis Cause Vomiting

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 >>

Nausea And Vomiting

Nausea And Vomiting

Tweet Most, if not all of us will be familiar with the feeling of nausea, which is basically the feeling of needing to be sick, felt in the stomach area. Both nausea and vomiting can be a sign of a number of underlying health conditions, including diabetes. When there is an issue that can affect the stomach or gastric system of their body, people can feel sick. Even if it is a fairly tenuous connection, such as angina affecting blood flow, the sufferer may still feel queasy. Causes of nausea Both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes can cause nausea or vomiting in several ways. Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia As the blood glucose levels rise and fall, the body's metabolism can get interrupted and confused which can lead to a mixed feeling of nausea. Low blood pressure (Hypotension) Low blood pressure often leads to dizzy spells which, for some people, can induce a feeling of nausea as the world appears to spin around them. Certain medications The side effect of a lot of drugs is a feeling of nausea, and even vomiting. Metformin, the most widely used diabetes drug, is known to have nauseating side effects. Gastroparesis Due to neuropathy, the body may not be able to move food from the stomach or along the intestines. This can cause a back log of food, which can result in sickness. Bezoars Bezoars are stone like formations created from undigested food matter, which can block the gastro-intestinal track and stop food processing and digesting. This can eventually cause nausea and vomiting. When to see your doctor If you are having recurrent or consistent bouts of nausea or vomiting, then it is a good idea to go and see your doctor to get the issue sorted as soon as possible. Keeping a diary of nausea or vomiting episodes and what you ate or were doing beforehand may help the Continue reading >>

Understanding The Presentation Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Understanding The Presentation Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS) must be considered while forming a differential diagnosis when assessing and managing a patient with an altered mental status. This is especially true if the patient has a history of diabetes mellitus (DM). However, be aware that the onset of DKA or HHNS may be the first sign of DM in a patient with no known history. Thus, it is imperative to obtain a blood glucose reading on any patient with an altered mental status, especially if the patient appears to be dehydrated, regardless of a positive or negative history of DM. In addition to the blood glucose reading, the history — particularly onset — and physical assessment findings will contribute to the formulation of a differential diagnosis and the appropriate emergency management of the patient. Pathophysiology of DKA The patient experiencing DKA presents significantly different from one who is hypoglycemic. This is due to the variation in the pathology of the condition. Like hypoglycemia, by understanding the basic pathophysiology of DKA, there is no need to memorize signs and symptoms in order to recognize and differentiate between hypoglycemia and DKA. Unlike hypoglycemia, where the insulin level is in excess and the blood glucose level is extremely low, DKA is associated with a relative or absolute insulin deficiency and a severely elevated blood glucose level, typically greater than 300 mg/dL. Due to the lack of insulin, tissue such as muscle, fat and the liver are unable to take up glucose. Even though the blood has an extremely elevated amount of circulating glucose, the cells are basically starving. Because the blood brain barrier does not require insulin for glucose to diffuse across, the brain cells are rece 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

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 >>

Acute Complications Of Diabetes - Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Acute Complications Of Diabetes - Diabetic Ketoacidosis

- [Voiceover] Oftentimes we think of diabetes mellitus as a chronic disease that causes serious complications over a long period of time if it's not treated properly. However, the acute complications of diabetes mellitus are often the most serious, and can be potentially even life threatening. Let's discuss one of the acute complications of diabetes, known as diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA for short, which can occur in individuals with type 1 diabetes. Now recall that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. And as such, there's an autoimmune destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas, which prevents the pancreas from producing and secreting insulin. Therefore, there is an absolute insulin deficiency in type 1 diabetes. But what exactly does this mean for the body? To get a better understanding, let's think about insulin requirements as a balancing act with energy needs. Now the goal here is to keep the balance in balance. As the energy requirements of the body go up, insulin is needed to take the glucose out of the blood and store it throughout the body. Normally in individuals without type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is able to produce enough insulin to keep up with any amount of energy requirement. But how does this change is someone has type 1 diabetes? Well since their pancreas cannot produces as much insulin, they have an absolute insulin deficiency. Now for day-to-day activities, this may not actually cause any problems, because the small amount of insulin that is produced is able to compensate and keep the balance in balance. However, over time, as type 1 diabetes worsens, and less insulin is able to be produced, then the balance becomes slightly unequal. And this results in the sub-acute or mild symptoms of type 1 diabetes such as fatigue, because the body isn Continue reading >>

Symptoms And Detection Of Ketoacidosis

Symptoms And Detection Of Ketoacidosis

Symptoms These symptoms are due to the ketone poisoning and should never be ignored. As soon as a person begins to vomit or has difficulty breathing, immediate treatment in an emergency room is required to prevent coma and possible death. Early Signs, Symptoms: Late Signs, Symptoms: very tired and sleepy weakness great thirst frequent urination dry skin and tongue leg cramps fruity odor to the breath* upset stomach* nausea* vomiting* shortness of breath sunken eyeballs very high blood sugars rapid pulse rapid breathing low blood pressure unresponsiveness, coma * these are more specific for ketoacidosis than hyperosmolar syndrome Everyone with diabetes needs to know how to recognize and treat ketoacidosis. Ketones travel from the blood into the urine and can be detected in the urine with ketone test strips available at any pharmacy. Ketone strips should always be kept on hand, but stored in a dry area and replaced as soon as they become outdated. Measurement of Ketones in the urine is very important for diabetics with infections or on insulin pump therapy due to the fact it gives more information than glucose tests alone. Check the urine for ketones whenever a blood sugar reading is 300 mg/dl or higher, if a fruity odor is detected in the breath, if abdominal pain is present, if nausea or vomiting is occurring, or if you are breathing rapidly and short of breath. If a moderate or large amount of ketones are detected on the test strip, ketoacidosis is present and immediate treatment is required. Symptoms for hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome are linked to dehydration rather than acidosis, so a fruity odor to the breath and stomach upset are less likely. How To Detect Ketones During any illness, especially when it is severe and any time the stomach becomes upset, ketone Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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. Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School. Continue reading >>

Is Diabetes Causing My Nausea?

Is Diabetes Causing My Nausea?

Nausea comes in many forms. Sometimes it can be mild and short-lived. Other times, it can be severe and last for a long time. For people with diabetes, nausea is a common complaint. It can even be a sign of a life-threatening condition that requires swift medical attention. 5 common causes of nausea Factors related to your diabetes may cause you to feel nausea. Medication Metformin (Glucophage) is one of the more common medications used to treat diabetes. Nausea is a potential side effect for people taking this medication. Taking metformin on an empty stomach may make nausea worse. Injectable medications used to treat diabetes, such as exenatide (Byetta), liraglutide (Victoza), and pramlintide (Symlin), may also cause nausea. The nausea may go away after extended use. Your doctor may also start you on a lower dosage to try to reduce or eliminate nausea. Hypo- and hyperglycemia Hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar levels) or hypoglycemia (blood sugar levels that are too low) may cause nausea. Check your blood sugar and respond appropriately if you suspect abnormal blood sugar levels. To avoid hypo- and hyperglycemia, stick to your diabetes meal plan, monitor your blood sugar, and take your medication as prescribed. You should also avoid exercising in extreme temperatures and keep cool by drinking cold liquids during outside activities, advises Sheri Colberg, PhD, author, exercise physiologist, and expert on diabetes management. Diabetic ketoacidosis Severe nausea may be a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a dangerous medical condition that must be treated to avoid coma or even death. Symptoms include: nausea excessive thirst frequent urination abdominal pain weakness or fatigue shortness of breath confusion fruity-scented breath If you suspect diabetic ketoacidosis, Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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 >>

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 >>

Ask The Diabetes Team

Ask The Diabetes Team

Question: From Cleveland, Ohio, USA: My son's pump malfunctioned last night in the middle of the night and we don't know exactly how long he was not receiving his insulin. He woke up with a "high" glucose and an episode of vomiting. Being on vacation, we did not have ketostix, but the smell of his breath gave evidence to his high ketones. We immediately bolused him via injection and changed his site. We continued frequent blood sugar checks and started pushing fluids. The vomiting continued for two more episodes and his blood sugar finally started coming down so he stopped vomiting and was able to keep fluids down. We were with extended family, who, of course, had questions. One of the questions was,"Why do high blood sugars and ketones cause vomiting?" I realized that even after dealing with my son's illness for eight years and working as an ICU nurse and treating DKA in patients, I don't know the pathophysiology of this process! My guess is it has something to do with the metabolic changes and the changeover to an acid state in the blood. I really don't know and I can't find the answer anywhere on the net. I appreciate any information and please be as technical as you'd like. Answer: First of all, a big thumbs-up to you for managing this degree of probable DKA in a levelheaded and successful way. But....a big thumbs down for traveling without ketone strips (blood - if you have the correct meter - or urine) or back-up insulin (other than fast acting insulin). I preach that if you have a pump, then there should be some insulin glargine (or other long-acting insulin) available in case of pump malfunction/misbehavior. I presume you travel with your emergency glucagon kit? All these things should be together. Your question, somewhat surprisingly to me, is not uncommon. Why 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 >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus.[1] Signs and symptoms may include vomiting, abdominal pain, deep gasping breathing, increased urination, weakness, confusion, and occasionally loss of consciousness.[1] A person's breath may develop a specific smell.[1] Onset of symptoms is usually rapid.[1] In some cases people may not realize they previously had diabetes.[1] DKA happens most often in those with type 1 diabetes, but can also occur in those with other types of diabetes under certain circumstances.[1] Triggers may include infection, not taking insulin correctly, stroke, and certain medications such as steroids.[1] DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids which produces acidic ketone bodies.[3] DKA is typically diagnosed when testing finds high blood sugar, low blood pH, and ketoacids in either the blood or urine.[1] The primary treatment of DKA is with intravenous fluids and insulin.[1] Depending on the severity, insulin may be given intravenously or by injection under the skin.[3] Usually potassium is also needed to prevent the development of low blood potassium.[1] Throughout treatment blood sugar and potassium levels should be regularly checked.[1] Antibiotics may be required in those with an underlying infection.[6] In those with severely low blood pH, sodium bicarbonate may be given; however, its use is of unclear benefit and typically not recommended.[1][6] Rates of DKA vary around the world.[5] 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.[1][5] DKA was first described in 1886 and, until the introduction of insulin therapy in the 1920s, it was almost univ Continue reading >>

How Does Diabetic Ketoacidosis Cause Vomiting?

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 >>

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