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What Is The Most Common Cause Of DKA?


The most common causes are underlying infection, disruption of insulin treatment, and new onset of diabetes. (See Etiology.) DKA is defined clinically as an acute state of severe uncontrolled diabetes associated with ketoacidosis that requires emergency treatment with insulin and intravenous fluids.

What happens when you go into DKA?

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious condition that can lead to diabetic coma (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.

How long does it take to recover from DKA?

Once you’re safely admitted to the hospital for DKA, recovery is usually complete in one to three days.

What triggers diabetic ketoacidosis?

In general diabetic ketoacidosis occurs because there is not enough insulin to move sugar (glucose) into the cell where it can be used for energy. Besides lack of insulin, certain body stressors combined with diabetes, such as infection or illness, can trigger diabetic ketoacidosis.

What are the warning signs of diabetic ketoacidosis?


  • Excessive thirst.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Weakness or fatigue.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Fruity-scented breath.
  • Confusion.

How do I bring my ketones down?

Also try these steps to bring down your ketone levels:

  1. Drink extra water to flush them out of your body.
  2. Test your blood sugar every 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Don’t exercise if you have high blood sugar and high ketones.

What happens if DKA is untreated?

The more ketones in the blood, the more ill a person with diabetic ketoacidosis will become. Left untreated, diabetic ketoacidosis can cause potentially fatal complications, such as severe dehydration, coma and swelling of the brain. Read more about the complications of diabetic ketoacidosis.

What are the long term effects of ketoacidosis?

On admission to hospital, these patients have a distinct clinical presentation: polyuria, polydipsia, nausea or vomiting, diffuse abdominal pain and hyperventilation. Left untreated, DKA can lead to cerebral oedema (more common in paediatric DKA patients), coma or death.


Is diabetic ketoacidosis a painful death?

Symptoms include sunken eyes, rapid breathing, headache, muscle aches, severe dehydration, weak peripheral pulses, nausea, stomach pain and cramping, vomiting, semi or unconsciousness, cerebral edema, coma and death. DKA is a horrendously painful way to die.

How long is the hospital stay for diabetic ketoacidosis?

The average length of hospital stay for patients with DKA decreased from 3.64 days in 2003 to 3.24 in 2014 (P, 0.01) (Fig. 2). Despite the decrease in the average length of hos- pital stay, the mean total charges for DKA- related hospital admissions increased considerably between 2003 and 2014.

How fast does DKA happen?

First described in the late 19th century, DKA represented something close to the ultimate diabetes emergency: In just 24 hours, people can experience an onset of severe symptoms, all leading to coma or death.

What are the stages of DKA?

An analysis of 1000 cases of diabetic ketoacidosis has suggested to the authors their classification into four evolutive stages: incipient ketoacidosis (normal pH, decrease of total CO2, between 20–26 mMol/l and of excess bases between -2 and -5 mMol/l), moderate ketoacidosis (pH 7.31-7.35, total CO2, between 15–19.9

How do you treat diabetic ketoacidosis?

If you’re diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis, you might be treated in the emergency room or admitted to the hospital. Treatment usually involves:

  1. Fluid replacement. You’ll receive fluids — either by mouth or through a vein — until you’re rehydrated.
  2. Electrolyte replacement.
  3. Insulin therapy.

Can stress cause diabetic ketoacidosis?

Infection is the most common precipitating cause in most reported series of diabetic ketoacidosis, but stress in any form can lead to metabolic decompensation. Omission of insulin is an unusual cause of ketoacidosis, and in approximately one-quarter of patients no cause can be identified.

When should I go to the hospital for diabetic ketoacidosis?

Call your doctor or go to the emergency room right away if you have any of the symptoms below and your ketones are moderate to high when you test them using a home kit, or if you have more than one symptom: You’ve been throwing up for more than 2 hours. You feel queasy or your belly hurts. Your breath smells fruity.

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