DKA (KETOACIDOSIS) & KETONES
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. Ketones are chemicals that the body creates when it breaks down fat to use for energy. The body does this when it doesn’t have enough insulin to use glucose, the body’s normal source of energy. When ketones build up in the blood, they make it more acidic. They are a warning sign that your diabetes is out of control or that you are getting sick.
High levels of ketones can poison the body. When levels get too high, you can develop DKA. DKA may happen to anyone with diabetes, though it is rare in people with type 2.
Treatment for DKA usually takes place in the hospital. But you can help prevent it by learning the warning signs and checking your urine and blood regularly.
What Causes DKA?
Here are three basic reasons for moderate or large amounts of ketones:
- Not enough insulin
- Maybe you did not inject enough insulin. Or your body could need more insulin than usual because of illness.
- Not enough food
- When you’re sick, you often don’t feel like eating, sometimes resulting in high ketone levels. High levels may also occur when you miss a meal.
- Insulin reaction (low blood glucose)
- If testing shows high ketone levels in the morning, you may have had an insulin reaction while asleep.