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Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

DKA is a serious life-threatening complication of diabetes. This condition arises when there is not enough insulin in the body to allow the blood sugar into the cells and the excess glucose in the bloodstream. The liver will break down fat for energy at a fast rate and produces acids called ketones that build up in the blood and become toxic.

DKA may be the first sign that someone has Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Those with Type 2 Diabetes can experience DKA but it is usually less severe.

Cause of DKA

Causes of DKA can be an infection, injury, missing insulin injections, or stress.

Signs & Symptoms of DKA

Rapid breathing, decreased alertness, dehydration, dry skin and mouth, flushed face, frequent urination and thirst, fruiting smelling breath, headache, nausea and vomiting.

If suspect DKA, can test for ketones in the urine using urine strips.

Treatment of DKA

If DKA is suspected, go to the hospital!

Treatment of DKA includes insulin and replacement fluids.

If left untreated it could lead to kidney failure, cardiac arrest, fluid build-up on the brain, or death.

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