Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) – Facts.



What is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

When the pancreas of a diabetic cannot produce sufficient insulin to help the body convert glucose (sugar) into energy, the body turned to stored fat for energy. In the process of turning fat into energy, a byproduct known as ketones is released and gradually is enough to present a problem called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis – €“Causes, Incidence, Risk Factors.

The pancreas of type 1 diabetics cannot produce sufficient insulin, which is a hormone used to convert blood sugar (glucose) into energy. With glucose not converted into energy needed by the body, fat has to be used by the body.

In the process of changing fat into energy, the blood and urine are gradually accumulating more and more acids known as ketones. When the accumulation of ketones reaches too high a level, they become poisonous. This health problem is called ketoacidosis.

When the liver breaks down its stored fat into glucose to overcome the situation in which blood sugar cannot converted into energy, blood glucose levels  moves up to more than 300 mg/dL. Unfortunately, the cells are also unable to use the glucose made from fat since there is still insufficient insulin.


Diabetic Ketoacidosis – Video Guide


For those people who have no noticeable symptoms of type 1 diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis is usually the first indication. Even diagnosed type 1 diabetics can get diabetic ketoacidosis. Any health problem, surgery or forgetting to take insulin can result in ketoacidosis occurring in type 1 diabetics.

Seldom do type 2 diabetics suffer from ketoacidosis but it can happen if they suffer from a serious sickness. The blacks are more susceptible to ketoacidosis as an additional problem from type 2 diabetes.

Ketoacidosis Symptoms

Possible symptoms of ketoacidosis are  :

  • Stomach pain.
  • Vomiting and nausea.
  • Fruity smelling breath.
  • Flushed face.
  • Dry mouth and skin.
  • Deep, rapid breathing

Other symptoms which may happen include:

  • Breathlessness.
  • Poor flexibility and pain in the muscles.
  • Headache.
  • Thirst and a need to urinate often for more than a day.
  • Fatigue.
  • Senses ineffectual, possibly switching off into a coma.
  • Drowsy.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • A problem with breathing in a reclining position.
  • Abdominal pain.

Ketones Tests

To detect the first stage of ketoacidosis for type 1 diabetics, a ketones test can be employed using the urine of the diabetics. A more expensive ketones test using the blood is also possible.

A ketones test is carried out:

  • While pregnant.
  • When vomiting or nausea happens.
  • When a diabetic is suffering from pneumonia, heart attack, or stroke.
  • When the blood glucose level is over 240 mg/dL.

Other tests used to detect ketoacidosis are:

  • Potassium blood test.
  • Blood pressure measurement.
  • Blood glucose test.
  • Arterial blood gas.
  • Amylase blood test.

Ketoacidosis may affect the results of the following tests:

  • Urine pH.
  • Sodium blood test.
  • Phosphorus blood test.
  • Magnesium blood test.
  • CO2.


The use of insulin to lower the blood sugar level is the aim of the treatment. Its other aim is to replenish the decreased amount of fluids as a result of frequent urination as well as vomiting.

In most cases, you are required to be at a hospital to have certain procedures done:

  1. Replacement of insulin.
  2. Replacement of fluid as well as electrolyte.
  3. A search for the cause of the problem and its treatment.

The first warning symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis may be noticed by you and particular changes can be made to prevent the problem from worsening. Still, you should consult your doctor.


Acidosis do result in serious sickness, even death. For the strong and young, the latest therapy has managed to lower the number of deaths among them. However, the risk is still very high for the weak and elderly as well as those who go into unconsciousness due to late approach to treatment.


  1. Cerebral edema or the increasing amount of fluid in the patient’s brain.
  2. Heart attack as well as death as a result of hypoglycemia.
  3. Last stage of chronic kidney disease which is kidney failure.

Ketoacidosis Prevention

Diabetics should be prepared with knowledge of the first few symptoms of ketoacidosis. People having infections or those using insulin pump therapy can obtain better information if they do the ketones test with either urine or blood samples too than if they just do only the glucose test.

Diabetic who use the insulin pump should check every now and then to make sure nothing is preventing or blocking the flow of insulin from the pump into the body.

Calling your Health Care Provider

It is possible for diabetic ketoacidosis to be serious enough to warrant immediate medical attention. Ask for your health-care team once you are aware of the first few symptoms.

Head straight for the emergency room or dial an emergency number if you noticed the following:

  • Vomiting.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Nausea.
  • Fruity breath.
  • Decreased consciousness.
*** Posted By Natasha A.Nada ***