Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a severe condition that can lead to a diabetic coma or, in severe cases, death. DKA results from a shortage of insulin, thus the body begins to burn fat for energy, which produces a bodily chemical known as ketones. Ketones are chemicals that the body produces when it must break down fat to use for energy because it doesn’t have enough insulin to use glucose. Ketone buildup leads to the blood being more acidic.
High levels of ketones can poison the body, and in turn lead to DKA. Ketoacidosis (DKA) is incredibly serious and life threatening. If you suspect you are suffering from DKA, contact a health care provider immediately.
What are the Symptoms?
DKA usually develops slowly. Some of the more immediate symptoms include the following:
- Thirst or a dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- High blood sugar levels
- High levels of ketones in the urine
Over time, other symptoms appear, such as:
- Constant fatigue and exhaustion
- Dry or flushed skin
- Nausea, vomiting, or chronic stomach pain
- Difficulty breathing
- A hard time paying attention, or confusion
Checking for Ketones
Ketones can be detected by using a urine test strip and consulting a health care provider about appropriate blood glucose levels. Typically, when blood glucose is more than 240 mg/dl or when any symptoms of DKA surface, it is advised to check for ketones and consult a healthcare provider.
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