What Are The Warning Signs Of Dka
DKA usually develops slowly. But when vomiting occurs, this life-threatening condition can develop in a few hours. Early symptoms include the following:
- Thirst or a very dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- High blood glucose levels
- High levels of ketones in the urine
Then, other symptoms appear:
- Constantly feeling tired
- Dry or flushed skin
- Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. Vomiting can be caused by many illnesses, not just ketoacidosis. If vomiting continues for more than two hours, contact your health care provider.
- Difficulty breathing
Monitoring & Management Of Dka Recurrence
after the insulin infusion is stopped, patients should be monitored for recurrence of DKA:
- Follow the glucose level.
- Development of progressively severe hyperglycemia may be an early sign of recurrent DKA.
- Since glucose levels are often checked frequently, skyrocketing glucose may pre-date the development of a widening anion gap by a few hours.
management of recurrent DKA
- Causes of recurrent DKA
- Insulin infusion was stopped despite not meeting all five of the criteria above.
- Inadequate long-acting insulin dose.
- Patient isn’t eating enough
- Ongoing systemic inflammation .
Deterrence And Patient Education
Education on the disease process of diabetes, including short and long term complications, should be given to all patients. Patients should be taught how and when to check their glucose. Patients should receive education about how to use oral hypoglycemic meds and/or insulin, their side effects, and the importance of compliance. Dietitians, nurses, and multi-disciplinary home health can be important members of the team in assisting with this education.
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What Are The Physical Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
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Transition To Subcutaneous Insulin
Patients with moderate to severe DKA should be treated with continuous intravenous insulin until ketoacidosis is resolved. Criteria for resolution of ketoacidosis include a blood glucose < 200 mg/dl, a serum bicarbonate level 18 mEq/L, a venous pH > 7.3, and a calculated anion gap 12 mEq/L. The criteria for resolution of HHS include improvement of mental status, blood glucose < 300 mg/dL, and a serum osmolality of < 320 mOsm/kg.
When these levels are reached, subcutaneous insulin therapy can be started. If patients are able to eat, split-dose therapy with both regular and intermediate-acting insulin may be given. It is easier to make this transition in the morning before breakfast or at dinnertime.
Patients with known diabetes may be given insulin at the dosage they were receiving before the onset of DKA. In patients with newly diagnosed diabetes, an initial insulin dose of 0.6 unit/kg/day is usually sufficient to achieve and maintain metabolic control. Two-thirds of this total daily dose should be given in the morning and one-third in the evening as a split-mixed dose. If patients are not able to eat, intravenous insulin should be continued while an infusion of 5% dextrose in half-normal saline is given at a rate of 100200 mL/h.
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Three Ways To Evaluate For Ketoacidosis
- Using this formula, an elevated anion gap is above 10-12 mEq/L.
- Please don’t correct for albumin, glucose, or potassium. Don’t make this unnecessarily complicated.
urinary dipstick for ketones
- The urinary ketone dipstick tests for acetoacetate.
- This test has a high sensitivity for DKA , with urinary ketones are generally being 2+. False negatives may occur in patients with highly acidic urine.
- The specificity of a positive measurement of urinary ketones is low, so a positive urinary measurement of ketones doesn’t establish a diagnosis of DKA. For example, starvation ketoacidosis is a more common cause of urinary ketones in most contexts.
blood beta-hydroxybutyrate level
- > 3 mM: Consistent with DKA.
- > 6 mM: Severe DKA.
Should I Keep Taking Insulin When Im Sick
You should keep taking your insulin, even if you are too sick to eat. Your body needs insulin even if youre not eating. Ask your doctor whether its necessary to adjust your dose or take extra insulin.
If you use an insulin pump, keep a variety of supplies on hand. Make sure that you have short-acting insulin, long-acting insulin, and needles in case your pump is not working right. You also should have an emergency phone number to call for help with your pump.
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What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of type 1 diabetes and, much less commonly, of type 2 diabetes. DKA happens when your blood sugar is very high and acidic substances called ketones build up to dangerous levels in your body.
DKA only happens when you dont have enough insulin in your body to process blood sugar into energy. If this happens, your liver starts to process fat into energy, which releases ketones into the blood. High levels of ketones in the blood are dangerous.
Its less common in people with type 2 diabetes because insulin levels dont usually drop so low, but it can happen. DKA may be the first sign of type 1 diabetes, as people with this disease cant make their own insulin.
Symptoms of DKA can appear quickly.
Early symptoms of DKA can include:
- loss of consciousness, also known as fainting or syncope
DKA is a medical emergency. Call your local emergency services immediately if you think you may be experiencing DKA.
If left untreated, DKA can lead to a coma or death. If you use insulin, make sure you discuss the risk of DKA with your healthcare team and have a plan in place.
If you have type 1 diabetes and have a blood sugar reading of over 240 milligrams per deciliter , you should test yourself for ketones using a urine or blood test.
Blood Sugar And Ketone Blood Levels In Exogenous Ketosis
Some people come to low-carb or keto for therapeutic purposes . These people may benefit from higher ketone blood levels to fuel the brain when glucose cannot be used efficiently.
If you are trying to avoid muscle wastage that occurs in cancer cachexia or trying to feed a growing child who has epilepsy, an energy-dense high fat low satiety diet can be an advantage to gain weight or grow . However, most people do not require therapeutic ketosis, particularly if weight loss, improved satiety or blood sugar control is the highest priority.
People following a therapeutic ketogenic diet may choose to load up with MCT oils and other added fats to achieve high ketone levels and low glucose:ketone index values values. Others target high levels of ketones for brain performance or load up on exogenous ketones and glucose together to dual fuel for elite athletic performance.
This over-fuelled state with elevated glucose and ketones is shown in the chart below from the people with the highest total energy.
While it may be useful if youre about to race in the Tour de France, chronically elevated energy from glucose and ketones is not ideal, particularly if you are sedentary, trying to lose weight or reverse your type 2 diabetes.
Reducing your carbohydrate intake can help you to avoid carb+fat hyperpalatable junk food, increase satiety, help you to eat less and lose weight. However, pushing carbohydrates to very low levels can lead to lower satiety and increased energy intake.
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High Blood Sugar Treatment
If an individuals blood glucose test result is higher than 240, the individual needs to test for ketones. If ketones are present and blood glucose is above 240, they should treat with medication, dilution , and not participate in physical activity.
High Blood Sugar Treatment:
- Check urine for ketones
- Drink water or other sugar free-drinks/snacks
*For children in school: Notify parents if ketones are present in urine. The child should not exercise if ketones are present or if blood sugar is over 300.
What Can Happen If Blood Sugars Are High
In the short term, high blood sugars can turn into diabetic ketoacidosis . This is an emergency condition that needs treatment right away. DKA can happen to kids with type 1 diabetes and, less often, kids with type 2 diabetes. Kids with type 2 diabetes also can get another type of emergency called hyperosmotic hyperglycemic state . Both conditions need treatment in the hospital and are very serious.
Untreated hyperglycemia can lead to serious health problems later in life. If it happens a lot, it can harm blood vessels, the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
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Can Diabetic Ketoacidosis Be Prevented Or Avoided
If you have diabetes, there are some things you can do to watch for diabetic ketoacidosis. When youre sick, watch your blood sugar level very closely so it doesnt get too high or too low. Ask your doctor what your critical blood sugar level is. Patients should watch their glucose level closely when those levels are more than 250 mg per dL.
When youre sick or stressed, you should check your blood sugar level more often than normal . If your blood sugar reaches a critical level, check it every 1 to 2 hours. Ask your doctor if you should test your blood sugar level during the night.
You should also test your urine for ketones every few hours if youre sick, stressed, or if your blood sugar level is more than 250 mg per dL.
You should talk to your doctor to develop a plan if your blood sugar level gets too high. Make sure that you know how to reach your doctor in an emergency.
How Long Does It Take For Diabetes
Diabetes-related ketoacidosis is considered an acute complication, meaning it has a severe and sudden onset. DKA can develop within 24 hours. If youre vomiting, it could develop much more quickly. Its essential to call your healthcare provider or go to the hospital as soon as you experience symptoms to get treatment before the DKA becomes more severe.
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What Tests Are Used To Diagnose Diabetes
In the hospital, healthcare providers may use the following tests to diagnose DKA:
- Blood pressure check.
- Osmolality blood test.
If you have diabetes and call your healthcare provider from home about your symptoms, they can usually determine if you have diabetes-related ketoacidosis based on your history, blood sugar levels and urine and/or blood ketones. They will also determine if you can treat your symptoms from home or if you need to go to the hospital for treatment. There are a few at-home tests you can take to see if you could have DKA, including:
- Urine ketone test: A urine ketone test measures the number of ketones in your pee. Its usually a strip that will turn a certain color depending on what level of ketones are in your pee. Urine ketone tests can be purchased at your local pharmacy without a prescription. Follow the instructions on the packaging to be sure you are doing the test properly.
- Blood ketone test: Some at-home blood glucose meters can check blood ketones as well as blood sugar levels with a drop of blood. There are also meters that just check ketones in your blood that you can buy.
- Blood glucose tests: High blood sugar is a sign that you could have DKA. Checking your blood sugar with a blood glucose meter or using a continuous glucose monitoring sensor is the only way to know for sure if you have high blood sugar.
Living With Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Keeping the balance between blood sugar and insulin is the key to controlling diabetic ketoacidosis. In most cases, this means sticking to your insulin schedule. But you may need to adjust the amount of insulin youre taking.
You should also try to recognize when you feel stressed or sick. Small adjustments to your eating or drinking can make a big difference.
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Does A Patient With Abdominal Pain And Elevated Amylase Level In The Presence Of Dka Have Pancreatitis
In patients with DKA, it is common to find a mildly elevated amylase level. The pancreas produces about 4050% of the body’s amylase the remainder is produced in the salivary glands. Also, in a volume-depleted state , there is reduced renal clearance of amylase. Elevations in lipase levels are thought to be more specific for the diagnosis of pancreatitis. In one prospective study of 100 consecutive patients presenting to a single hospital, the relationship between DKA and acute pancreatitis was studied. The authors found acute pancreatitis in 15% of the patients with DKA. They also found that amylase was a sensitive and specific marker of pancreatitis as long as the levels were at least three times normal, and a computed tomography scan is recommended in any patient with amylase or lipase levels three times normal.
Nair S, Yadav D, Pitchumoni CS: Association of diabetic ketoacidosis and acute pancreatitis: Observations in 100 consecutive episodes. Am J Gastroenterol 95:27952800, 2000.
How Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis Diagnosed
Diabetic ketoacidosis is usually diagnosed using blood and urine tests which measure the concentration of ketones in the blood or urine.
In addition to testing ketone levels , levels of potassium may also be measured as part of the treatment to check for signs of hypokalemia . Potassium may be depleted as a result of excessive urination.
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Treatment Of Dka In Dialysis Patients
Diabetes is a leading cause of end-stage kidney disease in the US.25 DKA is infrequent in dialysis patients but it has been increasingly encountered due to rising prevalence of diabetic ESKD. The kidney plays an important role in glucose homeostasis, and the loss of kidney function is often associated with improved glycemic control due to the reduction of kidney gluconeogenesis, improved insulin sensitivity with regular dialysis, and reduced insulin clearance.26 However, these processes also place ESKD patients with diabetes at higher risk of hypoglycemia.
It is important to note that no prospective studies have systematically evaluated strategies assessing treatment and resolution of DKA in dialysis patients therefore, the diagnosis of DKA and monitoring for its resolution should be done in close collaboration with a nephrologist. Insulin administration is a mainstay and frequently the only treatment required for DKA management in dialysis patients.28 In the absence of data from prospective studies, the initial rate of intravenous insulin administration for dialysis patients should be similar to non-dialysis individuals, with a recommended pace of serum glucose decline of 100125 mg/dL/h to avoid neurologic consequences from a rapid reduction in serum tonicity and intracellular swelling. In our opinion, initial insulin bolus to 0.1 U/kg followed by continuous insulin infusion at 0.05 U/kg/h may be appropriate to avoid too rapid glucose correction.
Diabetic Ketoacidosis Causes And Risk Factors
Diabetic ketoacidosis usually happens because your body doesn’t have enough insulin. Your cells can’t use the sugar in your blood for energy, so they use fat for fuel instead. Burning fat makes acids called ketones. If the process goes on for a while, they could build up in your blood. That excess can change the chemical balance of your blood and throw off your entire system.
People with type 1 diabetes are at risk for ketoacidosis, since their bodies don’t make any insulin. Your ketones can also go up when you:
- Have an insulin reaction
- Havenât injected enough insulin
DKA can happen to people with type 2 diabetes, but it’s rare. If you have type 2, especially when you’re older, you’re more likely to have a condition with some similar symptoms called HHNS . It can lead to severe dehydration.
Risk factors for DKA include:
- Having type 1 diabetes, even if itâs undiagnosed
- Missing your insulin dose often
- Not taking your insulin as prescribed
- Using illegal drugs, such as cocaine
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