Symptoms and treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis

Symptoms and treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis

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THE diabetic ketoacidosis it is a serious complication that mainly affects patients suffering from type 1 diabetes, but also patients with type 2 diabetes in an advanced stage. Learn more about this pathology.

  • Definition

  • Causes of diabetic ketoacidosis

  • Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis

  • Diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis

  • Treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis

  • Prevention


Diabetic ketoacidosis corresponds to the accumulation of blood acids (ketones) in the body, which results in an increase in blood acidity. This increase in the concentration of acids is the result of lack of blood insulin. Because of this, this pathology may be the way to discover type 1 diabetes, a congenital condition. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a compilation of diabetes that must be treated urgently, as it can lead to the death of the patient.

Causes of diabetic ketoacidosis

In addition to the lack of treatment for diabetes in cases where the patient does not yet know he has the disease, diabetic ketoacidosis can also be caused by minor insulin injections than necessary, as well as a temporary increase in energy consumption due to factors such as infections, strokes and medication use.

Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis

The disease manifests itself in different ways. The symptoms are all linked to elevated blood acidity and include dehydration more or less pronounced, fatigue, severe thirst and dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, mental confusion or Coma state in the most serious cases. There is also an increase in the frequency of urination and the amount of urine expelled.

Diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis

To make the diagnosis, the doctor carries out a medical questionnaire and then a clinical examination. In cases of greater severity, the physician should refer the patient to emergency hospitalization. In less severe cases, tests can be prescribed, such as urine tests to detect high ketones and glucose, blood tests and electrocardiogram.

Finally, if the patient does not know how to have diabetes, the first exam will be capillary blood glucose. If you discover an abnormally high rate of blood sugar, a complete diabetes screening test and hospitalization will usually be necessary.

Treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis

Treatment requires hospitalization. The goal is to decrease blood acidity through insulin injections at regular intervals until the ketones are gone. The treatment of diabetic acidosis also includes rehydration of the patient and monitoring in a hospital environment.


It is possible to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis with a strict diabetes control. In cases of treated diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis can be a consequence of infection or intercurrent pathology, but also be caused by forgetfulness or error in the treatment of diabetes. Therefore, it is essential to measure your blood glucose regularly and remember to take your insulin.

Photo: © Dmitry Lobanov –

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