DKA (Ketoacidosis) & KetonesDiabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious condition that can lead to diabetic coma, sleep-like state in which a person is not conscious. May be caused by hyperglycemia (high blood glucose), or hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), in people with diabetes. (passing out for a long time), or even death.
When your cells don't get the glucose they need for energy, your body begins to burn fat for energy, which produces ketones. Ketones are chemicals that the body creates when it breaks down fat,one of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide fat are butter, margarine, salad dressing, oil, nuts, meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products. 2. Excess calories are stored as body fat, providing the body with a reserve supply of energy, and other functions, to use for energy. The body does this, when it doesn’t have enough insuln hormone, that helps the body use glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When the body cannot make enough insulin, it is taken by injection or through use of an insulin pump, to use glucose.The food you eat gets digested, and broken down into a sugar, your body's cells can use. This is glucose, one of the simplest forms of sugar. the body’s normal source of energy. When ketones build up in the blood, they make it more acidic. They are a warning sign that your diabetes is out of control, or that you are getting sick.
High levels of ketones can poison the body. When levels get too high, you can develop DKA. DKA may happen to anyone with diabetes, though it is rare in people with type 2.
Treatment for DKA usually takes place in the hospital. But you can help prevent it by learning the warning signs, and checking your urine, the liquid waste product filtered from the blood by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and expelled from the body by the act of urinating.
What are the Warning Signs of DKA?DKA usually develops slowly. But when vomiting occurs, this life-threatening condition can develop in a few hours. Early symptoms include the following:
- Thirst or a very dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- High blood glucose, the main sugar found in the blood, and the body's main source of energy. Also called blood sugar.1. A class of carbohydrates with a sweet taste, including glucose, fructose and sucrose. 2. A term used to refer to blood glucose.
- High levels of ketones in the urine
- Constantly feeling tired
- Dry or flushed skin
- Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
(Vomiting can be caused by many illnesses, not just ketoacidosis. If vomiting continues for more than 2 hours, contact your health care provider.)
- Difficulty breathing
- Fruity odor on breath
- A hard time paying attention, or confusion
Ketoacidosis (DKA) is dangerous and serious. If you have any of the above symptoms, contact your health care provider IMMEDIATELY, or go to the nearest emergency room of your local hospital.
How Do I Check for Ketones?You can detect ketones with a simple urine test using a test strip, similar to a blood testing strip. Ask your health care provider when and how you should test for ketones. Many experts advise to check your urine for ketones when your blood glucose is more than 240 mg/dlmilligrams (MILL-ih-grams) per deciliter (DESS-ih-lee-tur), a unit of measure that shows the concentration of a substance in a specific amount of fluid. In the United States, blood glucose test results are reported as mg/dL. Medical journals and other countries use millimoles per liter (mmol/L). To convert to mg/dL from mmol/L, multiply mmol/L by 18. Example: 10 mmol/L Ã¯Â¿Â½ 18 = 180 mg/dL.X.
When you are ill (when you have a cold or the flu, for example), check for ketones every 4 to 6 hours. And check every 4 to 6 hours when your blood glucose is more than 240 mg/dl.
Also, check for ketones when you have any symptoms of DKA.
What If I Find Higher-than-normal Levels of Ketones?If your health care provider has not told you what levels of ketones are dangerous, then call when you find moderate amounts after more than one test. Often, your health care provider can tell you what to do over the phone.
Call your health care provider at once if you experience the following conditions:
- Your urine tests show high levels of ketones.
- Your urine tests show high levels of ketones and your blood glucose levelthe amount of glucose in a given amount of blood. It is noted in milligrams in a deciliter, or mg/dLX is high.
- Your urine tests show high levels of ketones and you have vomited more than twice in four hours.
What Causes DKA?Here are three basic reasons for moderate or large amounts of ketones:
- Not enough insulin
Maybe you did not inject enough insulin. Or your body could need more insulin than usual because of illness.
- Not enough food
When you're sick, you often don't feel like eating, sometimes resulting in high ketonea chemical produced when there is a shortage of insulin in the blood and the body breaks down body fat for energy. High levels of ketones can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis and coma. Sometimes referred to as ketone bodies.X levels. High levels may also occur when you miss a meal.
- Insulin reaction (low blood glucose)
If testing shows high ketone levels in the morning, you may have had an insulin reaction when the level of glucose in the blood is too low (at or below 70 mg/dL). Also known as hypoglycemia.X while asleep.