Diabetic Ketoacidosis Symptoms and Signs
High blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) in a person with diabetes causes a cascade of effects that
damage body. When the blood glucose levels in a person with type 1 diabetes
become dangerously low, diabetic ketoacidosis can occur, and this is a life
theatening situation. Signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include
- Abdominal pain
Diabetic ketoacidosis facts
- Diabetic ketoacidosis is a
life-threatening complication of
type 1 diabetes (though rare, it can occur in people with
diabetes) that occurs when the body makes high
levels of ketones due to lack of insulin.
- Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the
body cannot produce enough insulin.
- The signs and symptoms of diabetic
- Risk factors for diabetic ketoacidosis
are type 1 diabetes, and missing insulin doses frequently.
- Diabetic ketoacidosis is diagnosed by
an elevated blood sugar (glucose) level, elevated blood ketones and
acidity of the blood (acidosis).
- The treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis
is insulin, fluids and electrolyte therapy.
- Diabetic ketoacidosis can be prevented
by taking insulin as prescribed and monitoring glucose and ketone levels.
- The prognosis for a person with diabetic
ketoacidosis depends on the severity of the disease and the other underlying
What is diabetic ketoacidosis?
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a severe and life-threatening complication of
diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the cells in our body do not receive the sugar
(glucose) they need for energy. This happens while there is plenty of glucose in
the bloodstream, but not enough insulin to help convert glucose for use in the
cells. The body recognizes this and starts breaking down muscle and fat for energy.
This breakdown produces ketones (also called fatty acids), which cause an
imbalance in our system leading to the ketoacidosis (a metabolic acidosis). The sugar that cannot be used because of the lack of insulin stays in the
bloodstream (rather than going into the cell and provide energy). The kidneys
filter some of the glucose (sugar) and excrete it in the urine.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/18/2016