Diabetic ketoacidosis, DKA, is a serious condition that is life-threatening, and it can cause a diabetic coma. It should be taken very seriously.
According to the American Diabetes Association, ADA, Diabetic ketoacidosis is caused when there is not enough insulin in the body to turn glucose into energy (ADA, 2015). This causes the kidneys to start filtering sugar out of the blood, turning it into urine.
This causes the body to start burning fat, bringing ketones into the blood stream. When ketones start to build up, it causes your body’s pH level to become acidic.
It is important to take this very seriously. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a warning sign that you are losing control of your diabetes. It is a red flag alerting you to get medical help as soon as possible.
DKA can be caused by dehydration, severe illness, and a lack of insulin (WebMD, 2017). It is very important to get enough water and proper medical help in order to manage your diabetes well.
The question that a lot of people have is, “How do I prevent DKA?” This is a great question, because this condition is preventable.
According to WebMD, the “risk for DKA is higher when you are sick” (WebMD, 2017). Therefore, it is important to be on guard when you are feeling ill. Make sure to take your diabetic medication even if you do not feel like eating. It is very important to stay consistent with your meals, even if you only eat a little.
Also, vomiting can cause dehydration. Stay on top of drinking water consistently throughout the day. Not only that, but WebMD states, your blood sugar levels skyrocket due to the stress hormones in your system.
When you are sick, you are at risk of developing DKA. Therefore, it is important to understand what to do when you are most vulnerable.
WebMD suggests, in order “to prevent DKA when you are not feeling well, try to drink water, take your diabetes medicine, and eat a little food” (WebMD, 2017). While you are sick, it is important to test your blood sugar often. This will help you to see if you have high blood sugar.
Especially if you have high blood sugar, it is important to check your urine for ketones. This will help you to keep track if you need to seek medical attention. Staying on top of this will put you miles ahead.
Making a plan for when you are sick with your doctor can also help you prevent DKA (WebMD, 2017).
What if you have developed DKA? How can you treat it?
When DKA has become severe, you have to go into a hospital to treat it. Very often, they will have you in the intensive care unit. WebMD states, “Treatment involves giving insulin and fluids through your vein and closely watching certain chemicals in your blood (electrolytes)” (WebMD, 2017).
Health caretakers will make sure that nothing gets out of hand. They will be checking to make sure nothing happens while treating you for dehydration. It might take several days before your blood sugar returns to being normal.
Therefore, do what you can to prevent DKA. It is treatable, but it is preventable. Stay on top of your sick day plan, it will help you immensely.
American Diabetes Association. (2015). DKA (ketoacidosis) & ketones. American Diabetes Association. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/ketoacidosis-dka.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/
WebMD Editors. (2017). Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) – topic overview. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/tc/diabetic-ketoacidosis-dka-topic-overview#1
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