What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

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By jolene
Apr 24, 2020
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening complication of diabetes. Although it mostly occurs in type 1 diabetics, it can also occur in type 2 diabetics. The symptoms usually begin rapidly and can be triggered by infection, stroke, not taking insulin correctly, and medications such as steroids.

Diabetic ketoacidosis results due to an insulin shortage, which causes the body to burn fatty acids. This leads to the production of acidic ketone bodies. It can be defined as having serum concentration of more than 5mEq/L, blood sugar more than 250 mg/dL, and blood pH less than 7.3.

1. Causes

As briefly mentioned, the commonest causes of diabetic ketoacidosis are an underlying infection (40%), disruption with insulin treatment (25%), and undiagnosed or newly diagnosed diabetes (15%). If categorized based on subtypes of diabetes, causes of diabetic ketoacidosis in type 1 diabetes are insulin deficiency, poor insulin compliance, omission of insulin, bacterial infection, stress (medical, surgical, emotional), failure of insulin infusion pump, or no identifiable cause. In type 2 diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis can occur during illness (such as pneumonia, urinary tract infection, prostatitis, heart attack) and medications (clozapine, corticosteroids). It can also occur in pregnant women who have gestational or preexisting diabetes due to physiological changes in pregnancy.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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