Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening condition that develops when cells in the body are unable to get the sugar (glucose) they need for energy. When the cells do not receive sugar, the body begins to break down fat for energy instead. When this happens, ketones or fatty acids are produced and enter the bloodstream, causing the chemical imbalance (metabolic acidosis) called diabetic ketoacidosis.
People with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes are at risk for DKA if they do not take enough insulin, have a severe infection or other illness, or become severely dehydrated.
Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include:
Flushed, hot, dry skin.
A strong, fruity breath odor (similar to nail polish remover or acetone).
Restlessness, drowsiness or difficulty waking up. Young children may lack interest in their normal activities.
Rapid, deep breathing.
Loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
When diabetic ketoacidosis is severe, the person may have difficulty breathing, the brain may swell (cerebral edema), and there is a risk of coma and even death. The person may need to be cared for in an intensive care unit.
Treatment involves giving insulin and fluids through a vein and closely monitoring the chemicals in the blood (electrolytes). It can take several days for the person's blood sugar level to return to a safe range
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