Learn How to Recognize Diabetic Ketoacidosis

how to recognize diabetic ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a possible consequence of diabetes. It can be very dangerous, or even fatal if left untreated. So it is crucial to learn how to recognize diabetic ketoacidosis on time.

What Does This Diagnosis Mean?

When you have diabetic ketoacidosis, your blood contains a dangerously high level of fatty acids known as ketones.

Because diabetes lowers blood sugar levels, a diabetic person’s body needs to find different sources of energy. Thus, it begins breaking down fat and muscle. This process creates an unusual amount of ketones, which become dangerous as they pile up.

People who don’t notice this problem developing will end up in an intensive care unit.

What to Look Out For?

But how can you know that you have diabetic ketoacidosis?

Although type 1 diabetics are more at risk, type 2 diabetics may develop it as well. Missing out on medication or consuming alcohol increases your risk of diabetic ketoacidosis. Severe trauma is another risk factor.

The symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include:

• Abdominal pain
• Fruity-scented breath
• Confusion
• Nausea and vomiting
• Thirst and frequent urination
• Fatigue and shortness of breath

Consult your doctor if you are experiencing any one of these symptoms. But if you are experiencing more than one of these symptoms at the same time, contact emergency care immediately.

Other Things to Remember

Irregular insulin intake is a huge risk factor. Tell your doctor if you haven’t been taking your insulin, because you might need to get your ketone levels checked.

Note that dehydration or stress can cause this disorder to develop, too. Consequently, it can also be a good idea to check ketone levels after an illness or a particularly upsetting event.


When you have diabetes, you need to know how to recognize diabetic ketoacidosis. If you suspect that you have this problem, seek help immediately. Treatment includes increasing your insulin levels and tending to dehydration.

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