What is diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)? – DiaBiteSize

What is diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)? – DiaBiteSize

November 4, 2019 0 By William Morgan


(biting sound)
So you have Type 1 diabetes. It’s
something you’re going to manage mostly
with insulin, a hormone your body doesn’t
produce when you have Type 1 diabetes.
By now you probably know how and when to
give yourself insulin. And if you have an
insulin pump you probably know how to
maintain it. But do you know how to tell
if something’s not working? That’s what
we’ll be looking at.
You eat carbohydrates to fuel yourself with energy.
Your body breaks down the carbs
into sugar, which then goes into your
blood. Think about it like filling up the
gas tank in a car. When you eat, your
body stores the carbs to use as energy
when you need it later, like filling up
the gas tank. Insulin is what opens the
tank to let the gas in. As someone with
Type 1 diabetes, you don’t produce
insulin naturally, so the sugar doesn’t
get to where it’s supposed to be,
which is why you take insulin.
If you’re not getting the insulin you need, the
sugar you eat stays in your blood
instead of being stored in the tank.
When this happens, your body won’t have the
fuel it needs when it needs it, and your
body will seek out alternative sources
to break down into fuel.
One of the first sources it looks for is
fat. Except when your body breaks down
fat, it leaves ketones in your
bloodstream that make your blood acidic.
Together with high blood sugar, acidic
blood from the ketones can make you sick
and put your body in a state of diabetic
ketoacidosis, or DKA, and DKA is really
really serious. It can even be fatal. The
most common reasons for DKA happening
are, developing Type 1 diabetes, missing
taking your insulin, getting an infection,
and malfunctioning equipment.
Your body will give you plenty of pre-DKA
warning signs before you’re in
serious danger.
You may pee more than usual, which is
your body getting rid of the sugar that
isn’t making its way into yourself.
You may feel thirstier than usual, which is
your body diluting the unused sugar in
your bloodstream with water. You may find
yourself breathing faster, which is the
way your body tries to compensate for
acidic blood. And you may feel tired and weak.
If you notice any of these warning
signs, check your blood sugar, and also
check your blood or urine for ketones.
If you are worried, or you’re not sure what
to do, call your diabetes care team or go
to the hospital.
Remember these easy steps to prevent DKA:
– test your blood sugar regularly
– always take your insulin, even when you’re sick
– If you are sick, stay hydrated,
and you may need to take more insulin than normal
– if you wear a pump, check regularly to make sure
it is connected and working
– and if you notice any of the DKA symptoms
check your blood or urine for ketones.
Want to know more about DKA?
Have other questions about managing your diabetes?
Ask your diabetes care team,
and stay tuned for more videos
to help you stay healthy
and continue to live the life you want.