Diabetic Ketoacidosis - Lowering Blood SugarLowering Blood Sugar

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a condition-affecting individual with diabetes and it can be very serious. When a diabetic’s body is unable to utilize glucose, i.e. sugar, as a source of fuel due to a lack of insulin or the presence of none at all, DKA can occur. At that point the body starts burning fat for fuel instead of glucose and the poisonous ketone chemicals start building up in the blood and urine.

Symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis include:

  • Decrease in alertness
  • Face flushingDiabetic-Ketoacidosis
  • Dry mouth and skin
  • Rapid deep breathing
  • Breath that smells fruity
  • Frequent thirst or urination lasting one day or more
  • Stomach pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aching or stiffness

In some cases, Diabetic Ketoacidosis can be the first sign that undiagnosed diabetics receive, but it could also occur in an individual who has already received a diabetes diagnosis. In addition, there are a number of circumstances that could cause DKA in type 1 diabetics, as well as in type 2 diabetics although less often, including:

  • Surgery
  • Injury
  • Infection
  • Serious illness
  • Missed insulin dosage

Generally, ketone testing of a blood or urine sample is utilized when DKA is suspected and then the measurement of beta-hydroxybutyrate in the blood if there are ketones in the urine.

Additional DKA tests that are available include:

  • Blood pressure
  • Blood glucose
  • Basic metabolic panel
  • Arterial blood gas

If left untreated, Diabetic Ketoacidosis can result in kidney failure, cerebral edema or cardiac arrest. Any one of these conditions could lead to death, so it’s critical that you call 911 or head for the ER if you or a diabetic loved one experiences symptoms, including fruity breath, difficulty breathing, a decrease in consciousness, nausea or vomiting.

Most patients who have diabetes are advised by their doctor about identifying the Diabetic Ketoacidosis warning signs by using a glucose meter or urine strips. If you perform one of these tests and find ketones, it’s important to call your health care provider immediately and then be sure that you’re following all of the instructions that you receive. The majority of patients are found to be responding in 24 hours or less, although in some cases, recovery could take longer.

If you are diabetic, learning how to recognize the symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis is crucial to your health and well being. And, insulin pump users should check regularly to ensure that your insulin flows through your tubing and that it isn’t disconnected kinked or otherwise blocked.


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