Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Diabetes Ketoacidosis Symptom, Causes, Risk Factors, Prevention

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious complication of type 1 diabetes and, much less often, type 2 diabetes. DKA occurs when blood sugar is very high and acids, called ketones, build up at dangerous levels in your body.

Ketoacidosis should not be involved with ketosis, which is harmless. Ketosis can occur as a result of an extremely low-carbohydrate diet known as a keto diet or fasting.

DKA only occurs if you do not have enough insulin in your body to process high glucose levels in the blood.

It is less common in people with type 2 diabetes because insulin levels generally don’t go as low; however, it can happen. DKA may be the first sign of type 1 diabetes because people with this disease cannot take their insulin.

Symptoms Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

For some, these signs and symptoms may be the first indication of diabetes. You observe:

  • High blood sugar level (hyperglycemia)
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • High ketones in the urine
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Fruity aroma breath
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Laboured breathing

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening problem that affects people with diabetes. It occurs when the body begins to break down fat too quickly. The liver processes fat into a fuel called ketones, making the blood acidic.


Diabetic ketoacidosis happens when the insulin sign in the body is so low that:

  • Glucose (blood sugar) cannot enter the cells to serve as fuel.
  • The liver produces a large amount of sugar in the blood.
  • Fat breaks down too quickly to be processed by the body.

The liver breaks down fat into a fuel called ketones. Ketones are normally produced when the body breaks down fat after a long time between meals.

When ketones are born too soon and create up in blood and urine, they can be deadly by creating the blood acidic. This condition is known as ketoacidosis.

DKA is sometimes the first sign of type 1 diabetes in people who have not yet been diagnosed. It can also happen in someone who has previously been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Infection, injury, serious sickness, abstained doses of insulin injections, or operations can originate DKA in people with type 1 diabetes.

People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but this is less common and less severe. It is usually caused by long-term uncontrolled blood sugar, lack of medication doses, or serious illness or infection.

Risk Factor Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Although DKA is less common in people with type 2 diabetes, it does occur. Some people with type 2 diabetes consider themselves “susceptible to ketones” with an increased risk of DKA.

Some medications can increase the risk of DKA. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors.

The risk of diabetic ketoacidosis is higher if you:


Diabetic ketoacidosis is treated with doses of electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and chloride, and insulin.

It may be surprising that the most common complications of diabetic ketoacidosis are associated with this life-saving treatment.

Prevention Diabetic Ketoacidosis

There are many ways to prevent DKA. Prevention include:

  • You may need to immediately check and record your blood sugar levels three times a day, more often if you are ill or under stress. Accurate monitoring is the only method to assure that your blood sugar is within your destination area.
  • Set an alarm if it’s the same time every day, or download a medication reminder app for your phone to remind you.
  • Print your syringe or syringes in the morning. This way you can easily see if you have missed a dose.
  • Talk to your diabetes educator about adjusting your insulin dose to your blood sugar, the future, how active you are, or if you are sick with other factors. If your blood sugar starts to rise, follow your diabetes treatment plan so that it returns to its target range.
  • Test urinary ketone levels during periods of high stress or illness. This can help you detect mild to moderate ketone levels before they become healthy.
  • Seek medical attention if your blood sugar level is above normal or if ketones are present. Early detection is essential.
  • If you are ill or under stress, test your urine for excess ketones with an over-the-counter urine ketone test kit. And If your ketone level is moderate or high, call your doctor or seek emergency care immediately. If you find anything higher than small amounts of ketones, you may need to use more insulin.
  • Make healthy eating part of your daily routine. Take oral diabetes medications or insulin as directed.

The complications of diabetes are scary. But don’t be discouraged from taking good care of yourself. Follow your diabetes treatment plan and ask for help from your diabetes treatment team when you need it.


Diabetic ketoacidosis is serious, but it can be prevented. Comprehend your therapy strategy and be proactive with your health.

Tell your doctor if something doesn’t work for you or if you have any problems. They can adjust your treatment plan or help you find solutions to better control your diabetes.

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