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Why Is Ketoacidosis A Medical Emergency

Diabetic Coma

Diabetic Coma

The three types of diabetic coma include diabetic ketoacidosis coma, hyperosmolar coma and hypoglycaemic coma. Diabetic coma is a medical emergency and needs prompt medical treatment. Uncontrolled blood glucose levels may lead to hyperglycaemia or hypoglycaemia. Low or persistently high blood glucose levels mean your diabetes treatment needs to be adjusted. Speak to your doctor or registered diabetes healthcare professional. Prevention is always the best strategy. If it is a while since you have had diabetes education, make an appointment with your diabetes educator for a review. On this page: Diabetes mellitus is a condition characterised by high blood glucose (sugar) levels. Uncontrolled diabetes may lead to a diabetic coma or unconsciousness. The three types of coma associated with diabetes are diabetic ketoacidosis coma, hyperosmolar coma and hypoglycaemic coma. Diabetic ketoacidosis coma Diabetic ketoacidosis typically occurs in people with type 1 diabetes, which was previously known as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), though it can occasionally occur in type 2 diabetes. This type of coma is triggered by the build-up of chemicals called ketones. Ketones are strongly acidic and cause the blood to become too acidic. When there is not enough insulin circulating, the body cannot use glucose for energy. Instead, fat is broken down and then converted to ketones in the liver. The ketones can build up excessively when insulin levels remain too low. Common causes of ketoacidosis include a missed dose of insulin or an acute infection in a person with type 1 diabetes. Ketoacidosis may be the first sign that a person has developed type 1 diabetes. Symptoms of ketoacidosis Symptoms of ketoacidosis are: extreme thirst lethargy frequent urination ( Continue reading >>

Myths In Dka Management

Myths In Dka Management

Anand Swaminathan, MD, MPH (@EMSwami) is an assistant professor and assistant program director at the NYU/Bellevue Department of Emergency Medicine in New York City. Review questions are available at the end of this post. Background Each year, roughly 10,000 patients present to the Emergency Department in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Prior to the advent of insulin, the mortality rate of DKA was 100% although in recent years, that rate has dropped to approximately 2-5%.1 Despite clinical advances, the mortality rate has remained constant over the last 10 years. With aggressive resuscitative measures and appropriate continued management this trend may change. DKA is defined as: Hyperglycemia (glucose > 250 mg/dl) Acidosis (pH < 7.3) Ketosis In the absence of insulin, serum glucose rises leading to osmotic diuresis. This diuresis leads to loss of electrolytes including sodium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous. The resultant volume depletion leads to impaired glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and acute renal failure. In patients with DKA, fatty acid breakdown produces 2 different ketone bodies, first acetoacetate, which then further converts to beta-hydroxybutyrate, the latter being the ketone body largely produced in DKA patients. With this background in mind, let’s take a look at four urban legends in the management of DKA and the evidence that dispels these legends. Here’s our case: Although this presentation likely represents DKA, a blood gas is typically obtained to confirm the diagnosis. Often, the question arises as to whether an arterial or venous blood gas is adequate. Urban Legend #1 – An ABG is necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of DKA ABG gets you pH, PaO2, PaCO2, HCO3, Lactate, electrolytes and O2Sat VBG gets all this except for PaO2 (but we have Continue reading >>

Why Do People Who Suffer From Diabetes Get Sick Faster?

Why Do People Who Suffer From Diabetes Get Sick Faster?

Everybody has a high release of stress hormones when they’re battling or about to battle an illness. Typically, stress hormones cause a rise in blood glucose level because they cause the liver to release more glucose than normal into the bloodstream. People who don’t have diabetes can compensate by releasing more insulin, but people who have diabetes may produce no insulin, or their bodies may not use insulin efficiently, so blood glucose levels stay high unless something is done (such as taking insulin) to lower them. The release of stress hormones and consequent rise in blood glucose level is why people with diabetes are advised to continue taking their diabetes medicines (insulin or oral medicines) when they are sick, even if they’re vomiting. Monitoring blood glucose levels every 2–4 hours and sipping liquids every 15 minutes to stay hydrated are also important. Not taking diabetes medicines during an illness raises the risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis, a medical emergency characterized by high blood glucose levels, the presence of ketones in the blood and urine, and dehydration. When the body doesn’t have enough insulin available to use glucose as its primary fuel source, it breaks down stored fat for energy, which leads to the production of acidic metabolic by-products called ketones. An accumulation of ketones causes the blood — and eventually the body’s tissues — to become acidic, throwing off the delicate mechanisms that regulate bodily functioning Continue reading >>

Emergency Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Adults

Emergency Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Adults

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially fatal metabolic disorder presenting most weeks in most accident and emergency (A&E) departments.1 The disorder can have significant mortality if misdiagnosed or mistreated. Numerous management strategies have been described. Our aim is to describe a regimen that is based, as far as possible, on available evidence but also on our experience in managing patients with DKA in the A&E department and on inpatient wards. A literature search was carried out on Medline and the Cochrane Databases using “diabetic ketoacidosis” as a MeSH heading and as textword. High yield journals were hand searched. Papers identified were appraised in the ways described in the Users’ guide series published in JAMA. We will not be discussing the derangements in intermediary metabolism involved, nor would we suggest extrapolating the proposed regimen to children. Although some of the issues discussed may be considered by some to be outwith the remit of A&E medicine it would seem prudent to ensure that A&E staff were aware of the probable management of such patients in the hours after they leave the A&E department. AETIOLOGY AND DEFINITION DKA may be the first presentation of diabetes. Insulin error (with or without intercurrent illness) is the most common precipitating factor, accounting for nearly two thirds of cases (excluding those where DKA was the first presentation of diabetes mellitus).2 The main features of DKA are hyperglycaemia, metabolic acidosis with a high anion gap and heavy ketonuria (box 1). This contrasts with the other hyperglycaemic diabetic emergency of hyperosmolar non-ketotic hyperglycaemia where there is no acidosis, absent or minimal ketonuria but often very high glucose levels (>33 mM) and very high serum sodium levels (>15 Continue reading >>

Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Adults

Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Adults

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes, making it a medical emergency. Nurses need to know how to identify and manage it and how to maintain electrolyte balance Continue reading >>

Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Donahey, Elisabeth PharmD, BCPS; Folse, Stacey PharmD, MPH, BCPS Section Editor(s): Weant, Kyle A. PharmD, BCPS; Column Editor Diabetes, a chronic medical condition, continues to increase in prevalence. One of the most severe complications of diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), results from insulin deficiency and is a medical emergency that is frequently encountered in the emergency department. Prompt diagnosis, assessment of key laboratory values, appropriate treatment, and close monitoring are important to the successful treatment of this complex metabolic disorder. Fluid repletion and insulin administration are mainstays of DKA treatment and serve to restore normal hemodynamic status while decreasing the metabolic acidosis. Careful monitoring of glucose concentrations, vital signs, and electrolytes is essential to prevent complications arising from the treatment of DKA. This article provides an overview of the pathophysiology, presentation, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and complications of DKA. © 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. 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 >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Quick Facts If the body’s cells don’t get enough glucose it starts to burn fat for energy When the body burns fat instead of glucose it causes waste products called ketones Ketones are usually associated with high blood glucose, but also may occur when a child is ill and blood glucose levels fall below the patient’s target range At first, ketones will be cleared by the kidneys into the urine but, as their production increases, they build up in the bloodstream, increasing the acidity of the blood and causing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a potential medical emergency Ketoacidosis needs to be treated quickly as it can lead to a diabetic coma Blood and urine tests can detect high levels of ketones easily Ketones and Hyperglycemia Diabetic ketoacidosis can develop over hours or days and is associated with hyperglycemia - a buildup of ketones in the blood, and dehydration. Hyperglycemia alone does not usually result in a medical emergency. The following situations may lead to a buildup of ketones along with hyperglycemia, which can lead to a medical emergency: Illness and infection Significant or prolonged insulin deficiency from failure to take any insulin or the correct amount of insulin Diabetic Ketoacidosis Symptoms Severe abdominal pain with vomiting Dry mouth and extreme thirst Fruity breath, heavy breathing and shortness of breath Chest pain Increasing sleepiness or lethargy Depressed level of consciousness Seeking Medical Treatment If you have 1+ of ketones in your urine, contact your diabetes educator urgently Drink plenty of water (6 to 10 cups of water within two hours) Take an extra dose of rapid acting insulin and re-check your blood sugar If it is still high, re-check the ketone level. If your ketone level is not lower, please go to the Emergency Departmen 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 >>

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 >>

Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis Authors: Katia M. Lugo-Enriquez, MD, FACEP, Faculty, Florida Hospital Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Orlando, FL. Nick Passafiume, MD, Florida Hospital Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Orlando, FL. Peer Reviewer: Richard A. Brodsky, MD, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, Assistant Professor, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. Children with diabetes, especially type 1, remain at risk for developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This may seem confounding in a modern society with such advanced medical care, but the fact remains that children who are type 1 diabetics have an incidence of DKA of 8 per 100 patient years.1 In fact, Neu and colleagues have noted in a multicenter analysis of 14,664 patients in Europe from 1995 to 2007 that there was no significant change in ketoacidosis presenting at diabetes onset in children.2 In children younger than 19 years old, DKA is the admitting diagnosis in 65% of all hospital admissions of patients with diabetes mellitus.3 This article reviews the presentation, diagnostic evaluation, treatment, and potential complications associated with pediatric DKA. — The Editor Introduction The overall mortality rate for children in DKA is not unimpressive: The range is 0.15% to 0.31%.4 Besides death, one of the most feared repercussions of DKA in children is cerebral edema, an entity that occurs approximately 1% of the time.5,6 Cerebral edema, with the exception of a few case reports in some young adults, has largely been a complication of treatment in the pediatric population, and the exact factors have yet to be completely determined. The mortality associated with cerebral edema may approach 20% to 50%, and the incidence of neurologic morbidity is significant and Continue reading >>

Management Of A Patient With Diabetic Ketoacidosis In The Emergency Department.

Management Of A Patient With Diabetic Ketoacidosis In The Emergency Department.

Abstract Diabetic ketoacidosis is a common problem among known and newly diagnosed diabetic children and adolescents for which they will often seek care in the emergency department (ED). Technological advances are leading to changes in outpatient management of diabetes. The ED physician needs to be aware of the new technologies in the care of diabetic children and comfortable managing patients using continuous subcutaneous insulin infusions. This article reviews the ED management of diabetic ketoacidosis and its associated complications, as well as the specific recommendations in caring for patients using the continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion, serum ketone monitoring, and continuous glucose monitoring. Continue reading >>

National Study Of U.s. Emergency Department Visits With Diabetic Ketoacidosis, 1993–2003

National Study Of U.s. Emergency Department Visits With Diabetic Ketoacidosis, 1993–2003

Patients with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) are often managed in the emergency department before hospital admission. DKA hospitalizations comprise a significant portion of health care costs for diabetes (1). Although mortality for DKA has fallen, it remains an important cause of diabetes-associated death, especially among younger patients with diabetes (2). Prior analyses of DKA have been single-center intensive care unit (ICU) studies or based on hospital discharges (3–5). Patients may, however, be treated in the emergency department and then admitted to a non-ICU setting or discharged; the frequency of these practices is not known. We sought to describe the epidemiology of emergency department visits with DKA. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS— We analyzed the emergency department component of the 1993–2003 U.S. National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). Our institutional review board waived review of this analysis. Methodological details are described elsewhere (6–8). Briefly, NHAMCS uses a four-stage sampling strategy covering geographic primary sampling units, hospitals within primary sampling units, emergency departments within hospitals, and patients within emergency departments. Hospitals were stratified by region, presence of emergency department, ownership type, and size. Within each stratum, hospitals were selected with a probability proportional to the number of emergency department visits. Data were collected during randomly assigned 4-week periods. Data forms include demographic information, emergency department disposition (i.e., admission, transfer, and discharge), and up to three ICD-9 discharge diagnoses. For the present analysis, we identified DKA visits based on ICD-9 code 250.1x, the unique code for DKA, in any of the diagnosis field Continue reading >>

Clinical Reviews In Emergency Medicine Emergency Medicine Myths: Cerebral Edema In Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis And Intravenous Fluids

Clinical Reviews In Emergency Medicine Emergency Medicine Myths: Cerebral Edema In Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis And Intravenous Fluids

Abstract Pediatric diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a disease associated with several complications that can be severe. One complication includes cerebral edema (CE), and patients may experience significant morbidity with this disease. This review evaluates the myths concerning CE in pediatric DKA including mechanism, presentation of edema, clinical assessment of dehydration, and association with intravenous (i.v.) fluids. Multiple complications may occur in pediatric DKA. CE occurs in < 1% of pediatric DKA cases, though morbidity and mortality are severe without treatment. Several myths surround this disease. Subclinical CE is likely present in many patients with pediatric DKA, though severe disease is rare. A multitude of mechanisms likely account for development of CE, including vasogenic and cytotoxic causes. Clinical dehydration is difficult to assess. Literature has evaluated the association of fluid infusion with the development of CE, but most studies are retrospective, with no comparator groups. The few studies with comparisons suggest fluid infusion is not associated with DKA. Rather, the severity of DKA with higher blood urea nitrogen and greater acidosis contribute to CE. Multiple strategies for fluid replacement exist. A bolus of 10 mL/kg of i.v. fluid is likely safe, which can be repeated if hemodynamic status does not improve. Pediatric CE in DKA is rare but severe. Multiple mechanisms result in this disease, and many patients experience subclinical CE. Intravenous fluids are likely not associated with development of CE, and 10-mL/kg or 20-mL/kg i.v. bolus is safe. Continue reading >>

What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious condition characterized by high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), low insulin, and the presence of moderate to large amounts of ketones in the blood. It's a medical emergency that requires treatment in a hospital. If not treated in a timely fashion, ketoacidosis can lead to coma and death. While diabetic ketoacidosis (or DKA) is much more common among people with type 1 diabetes, it can also occur in people with type 2 diabetes, so ketone monitoring is something everyone with diabetes should understand. Diabetic Ketoacidosis Symptoms Signs and symptoms of ketoacidosis include: Thirst or a very dry mouth Frequent urination Fatigue and weakness Nausea Vomiting Dry or flushed skin Abdominal pain Deep breathing A fruity breath odor What Are Ketones? Ketones, or ketone bodies, are acidic byproducts of fat metabolism. It's normal for everyone to have a small amount of ketones in the bloodstream, and after a fast of 12 to16 hours, there may be detectable amounts in the urine. As is the case with glucose, if blood levels of ketones get too high, they spill over into the urine. An elevated level of ketones in the blood is known as ketosis. People who follow low-carbohydrate diets often speak of ketosis as a desirable state — it's evidence that their bodies are burning fat, not carbohydrate. But the level of ketosis that results from low carbohydrate consumption isn't harmful and is much lower than the level seen in diabetic ketoacidosis. When Should Ketones Be Monitored? Ketone monitoring is less of a concern for people with type 2 diabetes than for those with type 1 diabetes. This is because most people with type 2 diabetes still make some of their own insulin, making diabetic ketoacidosis less likely to develop. Nonetheless, people with type 2 d Continue reading >>

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