You Could be Having Diabetic Ketoacidosis!

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Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious and life threatening complication of diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs if your body produces high level of blood acids called ketones, which generally occurs if blood glucose level is very high, due to lack of insulin. If there is lack of insulin (low production of insulin and lack of external supply of insulin), body cannot use glucose as fuel, because insulin is required for entry of glucose to cells for energy. If cells do not get insulin energy is produced by burning fats which lead to production and buildup of acids in bloodstream called ketones. Presence of high level of ketones in bloodstream causes acidosis (blood become acidic) called diabetic ketoacidosis. This is an emergency medical condition and need immediate management. All diabetics are at risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis, hence all diabetics should know about the warning signs of diabetic ketoacidosis and seek emergency medical help when required.id-100113152

What are the symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis?

The symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis generally develop rapidly within 24 hours. Sometimes the patient may not be even aware that he/she has diabetes till development of diabetic ketoacidosis, and this may be the first indication of diabetes. The symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include,

  • Excessive thirst and frequent urination (two of three major symptoms of diabetes namely excessive thirst, frequent urination and excessive hunger known in medical terms as polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia respectively).
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breath may smell of fruit or garlic
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mental confusion or disorientation

Testing of blood for glucose and urine for ketones can confirm diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis. Because blood sugar level will be very high and urine will contain ketones bodies. These two tests should be done on emergency basis if diabetic ketoacidosis is suspected.

When you should contact your doctor?

If you suspect of having symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis, consult your doctor immediately. You can also try to detect ketones in urine using over-the-counter urine ketone testing kit and detect ketones in urine on your own. You also should use glucometer to check blood glucose level, which will also be very high. If you find both (high blood glucose and ketones in urine), immediately get medical help. If you have multiple symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis mentioned above, get immediate medical help. Treatment should be initiated as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

 

Image courtesy of [pat138241] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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