Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious,
life-threatening complication of
high blood sugar. It usually occurs
in type 1 (insulin-dependent)
diabetics. It must be treated
immediately. If you have
ketoacidosis, you may go into a
you have diabetes and don't have
proper treatment for it, you may
develop this very dangerous
complication called ketoacidosis. At
first your blood sugar (glucose)
level may rise above normal. This
condition is called hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia happens when you do
not have enough insulin to get sugar
out of your blood and into your
cells. When the cells of the body
can't use sugar for energy, they
break down fat for energy. The fat
byproducts (ketones) and high sugar
level can cause ketoacidosis, a
life-threatening chemical imbalance.
Reasons why your blood sugar may
increase, even if you are being
appropriately treated, include:
wrong amounts or types of food
your blood sugar levels properly
Usually, however, ketoacidosis
results from changes in your life
such as illness, dehydration,
infection, trauma, heart attack,
surgery, pregnancy, or other types
you have not yet been diagnosed with
diabetes, ketoacidosis may be the
first sign that you have type 1
Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
you have ketoacidosis you may also
have these symptoms:
onset of a diabetic coma is usually
gradual, producing the symptoms of
How is it
diagnose ketoacidosis, your health
care provider will ask about your
medical history, review your
symptoms, and give you a physical
exam. Your provider will pay special
of fluids in your body
you are thinking
health care provider will do some
tests to check the levels of sugar
and other chemicals in your blood
and urine. If needed, your provider
will also order other lab tests, a
chest x-ray, or ECG.
How is it
You will be
given diabetes treatment as soon
as ketoacidosis is diagnosed.
will be checked often for sugar
levels and chemical balances.
You will be
given fluids, possibly
treatment will include
antibacterial medication if you
have an infection.
will the effects last?
Ketoacidosis will continue until
enough insulin is available to the
body to achieve a normal blood sugar
level and restore chemical balance.
If this condition is not treated, it
can be fatal. With treatment, you
may recover in hours to days.
be done to help prevent diabetic
help take care of yourself and
prevent ketoacidosis, follow these
blood sugar level under control.
physical activity or exercise
plan your health care provider
blood sugar level as often as
you and your health care
provider have discussed.
ketones in your urine, if your
blood sugar level is high or you
are ill or under more stress
extra diabetes medicine until
you are sure that your blood
sugar level is too high. The
symptoms of low blood sugar can
be similar to those of high
early signs and symptoms of
diabetes medication with you.
family member or friend how to
give you an injection if
medical ID bracelet for
your health care provider if:
fasting blood sugar is 240 mg/dl
or more for 2 days.
vomiting or other symptoms of
Developed by Phyllis G. Cooper,
R.N., M.N., and iMcKesson Clinical
Published by iMcKesson Clinical
Copyright © 1991-2000 iMcKesson LLC.
All rights reserved.
from content provided by iMcKesson,
Review Date: 6/9/2001