Diabetic Ketoacidosis – What is it, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments!

Diabetic Ketoacidosis – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments  that we should not ignore. Furthermore,   Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a serious condition that can result in coma or even death. Diabetic ketoacidosis  happens when the blood sugar ( glucose ) levels of a diabetic patient are too high. Insulin is responsible for making the glucose that is in the bloodstream enter the cells of our body and generate energy.

When there is a lack of insulin, two simultaneous situations occur: the blood sugar level increases and the cells suffer from a lack of energy. To prevent cells from stopping working, the body uses fat stores to generate energy. But in this process in which the body uses fat for energy, ketones are formed.

Ketones are acids that build up in the blood and appear in the urine. Elevated levels of ketone bodies can poison the body. When the levels get too high, you have Diabetic Ketoacidosis . This is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs most commonly in patients with type 1 diabetes , but it also happens in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Causes of Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Diabetic  Ketoacidosis is usually Caused by:

  • A disease. An infection or other illness can cause the body to produce higher levels of certain hormones, such as adrenaline or cortisol. Unfortunately, these hormones work against insulin sometimes causing an episode of Diabetic Ketoacidosis . Pneumonia and urinary tract infections are commonly linked to Diabetic Ketoacidosis.
  • Problems with insulin therapy: Insulin treatment done properly can leave the patient with too little insulin, causing an episode of Diabetic Ketoacidosis .

Other possible triggers of diabetic ketoacidosis include:

  • Stress
  • Physical or emotional trauma
  • high fever
  • Surgery
  • heart attack
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs, especially cocaine.

Symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Diabetic  ketoacidosis usually develops slowly. Early symptoms include:

  • Thirst or very dry mouth
  • frequent urination
  • high blood glucose
  • High levels of ketones in the urine.
  • Then other symptoms appear:
  • constant tiredness
  • Dry or flushed skin
  • Nausea , vomiting or abdominal pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • Fruity odor on breath
  • Difficulty concentrating.

Diagnoses of Diabetic Ketoacidosis:  Testing for ketones in a urine sample is one of the first steps in diagnosing Diabetic Ketoacidosis . Testing blood glucose levelsis also common. Other tests that can be done are:

  • Blood potassium analysis _
  • arterial blood gas
  • Blood amylase test to assess pancreatic function
  • Chest X-ray to look for signs of an infection such as pneumonia.

Rich Factors of  Diabetic Ketoacidosis:  The risk of developing Diabetic Ketoacidosis may increase if the patient has:

  • type 1 diabetes
  • under 19 years old
  • Recent physical or emotional trauma
  • Stress
  • high fever
  • stroke or heart attack
  • tobacco addiction
  • History of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Although Diabetic Ketoacidosis is rarer in people with type 2 diabetes , it can happen.

Treatment of Diabetic Ketoacidosis:  If you are diagnosed with Diabetic Ketoacidosis , you may be treated in the emergency room or admitted to the hospital. Treatment usually involves:

Fluid replacement. You will be given fluids – either by mouth or through a vein (intravenously) until you are rehydrated. The fluids will replace those you’ve lost through excessive urination, as well as helping to dilute excess blood sugar .

Electrolytic replacement. Electrolytes are minerals in your blood that carry an electrical charge, such as sodium, potassium and chloride. The absence of insulin can lower the level of various electrolytes in the blood . You will be given electrolytes through a vein to help keep your heart, muscles and nerve cells working normally.

Insulin therapy. Insulin reverses the processes that cause Diabetic Ketoacidosis . In addition to fluids and electrolytes, you will receive insulin therapy – usually through a vein. When your blood sugar drops below 240 mg/dL (13.3 mmol/L) and your blood is no longer acidic, you can stop intravenous insulin therapy and resume your normal insulin therapy.

As your body chemistry returns to normal, your doctor will consider additional testing to check for possible triggers for Diabetic Ketoacidosis . Depending on the circumstances, you may need additional treatment.

For example, for previously undiagnosed diabetes , your doctor will help you create a diabetes treatment plan . For a bacterial infection, he or she may prescribe antibiotics. If a heart attack appears to be possible, your doctor may recommend further evaluation of your heart.

Prevention  For Diabetic Ketoacidosis:  Keep your diabetes  under control Having a healthy diet and physical activity is essential for anyone with diabetes. It is also important to follow treatment with medications and insulin, if they have been prescribed by your doctor. Controlling diabetes is the first step to avoiding any complications.

On insulin, you also need to adjust doses according to your blood sugar level , what you eat, level of physical activity, whether you are sick, and other factors. If your blood sugar starts to rise, follow your diabetes treatment plan to get it back to normal.

Monitor Your Blood Sugar Level and Ketosis:  You may need to check and record your blood sugar level at least three to four times a day – or more if you are sick or under stress . Careful monitoring is the only way to make sure your blood sugar stays within your target range. Also, you can check for ketosis with a urinalysis if needed.

Useful links: 

Be Prepared to Act Quickly: If you suspect Diabetic Ketoacidosis , seek emergency care. Diabetes complications can be scary – but don’t let fear stop you from taking care of yourself. Follow your diabetes treatment plan carefully and seek medical help when needed.

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