Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious condition that occurs when the body does not have enough insulin. This causes the blood sugar levels to rise too high. The body will then produce ketones. Ketones are a breakdown of fat for energy. If not treated right away, it can be dangerous. DKA usually happens in people with type 1 diabetes.

What causes DKA? DKA is caused by not having enough insulin in your body. You either do not take your proper dose of insulin or you are sick. The stress of an illness prevents the body from using insulin the way it should.

What are the early signs of DKA?

  • Blood sugar over 240 mg/dL.
  • Moderate or large ketones in the urine.

Symptoms of DKA are:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sweet, fruity smelling breath

If you are having any of these signs and symptoms, call your doctor, 911 or go to the emergency room. This could be a life-threatening condition.

Important things to remember Good communication with your doctor is the key to treating problems early. Always call the doctor if you have any of the following problems:

  • Your blood sugar levels are over the range that your doctor has given you for two or more tests in a row.
  • You have symptoms of dry mouth, increased thirst and urination for more than 24 hours.
  • Your urine shows moderate to large ketone levels.
  • You are sick and your blood sugar levels are out of range.
  • You have nausea and vomiting and have not kept any food or fluids down for more than 6 hours.
  • You have a fever of 100 degrees or more.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for taking extra insulin.

Ketone test strips can be purchased at your local drug store. Follow instructions on the package to test your urine for ketones. When talking to your doctor or diabetes educator, be sure to let them know what your ketone test results are. If stress or an emotional crisis brings on DKA, seek professional help for stress management.

Ketone test strips can be purchased at your local drug store. Follow instructions on the package to test your urine for ketones. When talking to your doctor or diabetes educator, be sure to let them know what your ketone test results are. If stress or an emotional crisis brings on DKA, seek professional help for stress management.

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/hyperglycemia.html Accessed 07/05/19.