Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes.
This diabetic complication occurs when the blood glucose levels get extremely high and the insulin production levels of the body are extremely low.
In some cases, this diabetic complication is the first sign that a person has diabetes.
The lack of insulin is insufficient to meet the body's basic metabolic requirements.

The causes for this condition could be:

  • People with diabetes (even type 2) who are unaware of their serious condition.
  • Diabetic people who are in illness such as high fever, influenza or pneumonia or a stroke.
  • Inadequate treatment of insulin: wrong doses, or defective insulin device, or wrong usage of a new insulin device (a pump or a pen).
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.


When the lack of insulin become drastic, it leads to increased release of glucose by the liver.
High glucose levels are also transferred into the urine, taking water and important minerals such as sodium and potassium along with it.
This leads to dehydration.
The absence of insulin also leads to the release of free fatty acids which are converted, again, in the liver - into ketones.
Those ketones, because they are toxic acids, also turn the blood to be acidic.
All of those shortages of insulin, of fluid, of minerals, and the acidic blood overwhelm the body and force him to compensate in different ways to return its chemistry to normal.
The ways the body tries to compensate are actually the symptoms described in the next lines.
This condition of diabetes is already life-threatening state and without treatment it can lead to death.
Because it is a medical emergency the treatment of this diabetic complication is usually done in a hospital.
It may require the administration of intravenous fluids replacement, insulin, and glucose.


Diabetic ketoacidosis symptoms often develop quickly, sometimes within 24 hours.
If you notice one or more of this signs written below
You must go immediately to the nearest hospital.

Symptoms of this condition include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slow deep breathing with a fruity odor to the breath
  • Abdominal pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Low appetite
  • Confusion
  • Eventually, loss of consciousness.

Return from Ketoacidosis to Diabetes Concepts

Return from Ketoacidosis to Diabetes Concepts

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