What is Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)?

What is Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)?

Diabetic ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a very serious condition that can lead to death or diabetic coma. When cells don’t get enough glucose your body starts to burn fat for energy. This burning of fat produces ketones. Ketones are acids built in the blood and can appear in one’s urine when one’s body doesn’t have enough insulin. This is a sure sign that one’s diabetes is out of hand.

Very high levels of ketones can actually poison the body. If the levels get too high, a person can develop diabetic ketoacidosis. This can happen to anyone who has diabetes. It is noted, however, that this is rare in someone with type 2 diabetes.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Early Symptoms of Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)

  • Very dry mouth or thirst
  • Increase urination
  • High blood sugar level
  • High level of ketones in urine
  • Feeling tired constantly
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting
  • Dry skin
  • Hard time paying attention

If anyone has the above mentioned symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis, it is very important to contact a health care provider or hospital immediately. Experts advise to check one’s urine for ketones when one’s blood sugar level is more than 240 mg/dL. One can test ketones with a urine test using a test strip. A health care provider should be asked about this concern.

What Causes Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)?

Three basic reasons as to what may cause diabetic ketoacidosis:

  • Not enough food. Generally when a person is sick, one doesn’t feel like eating. This can at times result in high levels of ketones.
  • Not enough insulin. High levels of ketones could be a result of a diabetic patient not injecting enough insulin.
  • Insulin reaction. If testing one’s urine shows that there are high ketone levels in the morning, it could be that one might have had an insulin reaction while sleeping. Insulin reaction is low blood glucose.