Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Health Implications

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is an acute metabolic emergency caused by an insulin deficiency, an increased production of ketone bodies and an altered acid-base balance. It predominantly occurs in people with type 1 diabetes, but it can also occur in people with type 2 diabetes. DKA has serious health consequences and can be deadly if it is left untreated. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the causes, symptoms and treatment of DKA.

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Causes of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis is caused by an absolute deficiency of insulin production due to a biological malfunction. Other causes include infections, certain medications, alcohol abuse, stress, and unrecognized or poorly controlled diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

The symptoms of DKA develop over several hours and can rapidly worsen if left untreated. Common symptoms include:

  • Thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased tiredness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fruity-smelling breath
  • Confusion and delirium
  • Rapid breathing

Treatment of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to prevent any further health complications or even death. Treatment typically includes:

  • Administration of insulin
  • Fluid replacement
  • Adjustment of electrolyte levels
  • Monitoring of blood glucose levels
  • Ongoing glucose monitoring

Health Implications of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

DKA can lead to severe health complications if it is not treated on time. These include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Kidney failure
  • Pneumonia
  • Severe dehydration
  • Coma
  • Death

The risk of a DKA episode can be substantially reduced by strict adherence to daily insulin administration, regular monitoring of glucose levels and making lifestyle and dietary changes to better manage diabetes.
It is important to seek professional help if you notice any of the above symptoms of the condition.

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