Diabetic ketoacidosis



A complication of diabetes in which acids build up in the blood to levels that can be life-threatening.


Diabetic ketoacidosis develops when the body can't make enough insulin, a hormone that helps sugar enter cells for energy. Instead, fat is broken down for energy. This can cause acids called ketones to build up in the blood and collect in the urine. The risk is highest in people who have type 1 diabetes and those who often miss insulin doses.


Diabetic ketoacidosis symptoms often start quickly, sometimes within a day. A person may get very thirsty, urinate often, vomit or have stomach pain. Symptoms also can include tiredness or weakness, confusion, shortness of breath, or fruity breath. Home blood and urine tests can find high levels of blood sugar and ketones.


With diabetic ketoacidosis, it's crucial to get treatment as soon as a person's symptoms or test results for blood sugar or ketones raise concerns. Treatment often involves going to a hospital to receive fluids, insulin and electrolytes through a vein. Without treatment, diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to loss of consciousness and death.