Diabetic ketoacidosis

Alternative Names

DKA; Ketoacidosis

Definition of Diabetic ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a complication of that occurs when the body cannot use sugar (glucose) as a fuel source because the body has no insulin or not enough insulin, and fat is used instead. Byproducts of fat breakdown, called ketones, build up in the body.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

People with type 1 diabetes lack enough insulin, a hormone the body uses to process glucose (blood sugar) for energy. When glucose is not available, body fat is broken down instead.

Symptoms

The warning signs that you are becoming very sick might include:

Signs and tests

Ketone testing may be used in type 1 diabetes to screen for early ketoacidosis. The ketones test is done using a urine sample. Ketone testing is usually done at the following times:

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to correct the high blood glucose level by giving more insulin. Another goal is to replace fluids lost through excessive urination and vomiting. You may be able to recognize the early warning signs and make appropriate corrections at home before the condition gets worse.

Expectations (prognosis)

can lead to severe illness or death. Improved therapy for young people with diabetes has decreased the death rate from this condition. However, it remains a significant risk in the elderly, and in people who fall into a coma when treatment has been delayed.

Review

Ari S. Eckman, MD, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 4/19/2010

Food and insulin release

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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