Diabetes Self-Management Articles

These articles cover a wide range of subjects, from the most basic aspects of diabetes care to the nitty-gritty specifics.

Links not loading properly?

Some of our pages use Portable Document Format (PDF) files, which require Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download Acrobat Reader for free, visit www.adobe.com.

Sign up for our weekly e-mail newsletter and receive a FREE GIFT! Enter your e-mail below.

Learn more

Learn more about diabetes

Links to help you learn more about diabetes.

Ask a diabetes expert
Other diabetes resources
Browse article topics

 

Ketoacidosis

A life-threatening short-term complication of diabetes characterized by severe disturbances in protein, fat, and carbohydrate regulation due to a deficiency in insulin. It is a medical emergency that requires treatment in an intensive care unit.

When there is not enough insulin to use glucose in the blood for energy, the body begins getting its energy from stored fat, breaking it down into ketones. These ketones begin to build up in the blood, appear in the urine, and throw the body chemistry seriously out of balance — a condition called ketoacidosis.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is often the first sign that a person has Type 1 diabetes. It may also occur when a person with diabetes is sick and fails to take enough insulin. It usually takes several days to develop. People in the throes of DKA experience excessive thirst, frequent urination, rapid breathing, nausea, and dehydration. Their breath may have a fruity odor from ketones in their blood that escape through expired air. They may become very drowsy and, if the condition is not caught and treated, may lapse into a coma and even die.

It is important to take special precautions when you’re sick, since this is when ketoacidosis is most likely to develop:

  • Even if you are unable to eat, be sure to take your usual dose of insulin, unless your physician instructs otherwise. The stress of an infection itself can raise blood glucose levels.
  • Monitor your blood sugar every 3 to 4 hours. If blood glucose levels are 240 mg/dl or higher, monitor your urine for ketones.
  • If your blood glucose levels are above 240 mg/dl and there are ketones in your urine, you will need to take extra insulin.
  • Contact your health-care team if you become dehydrated; cannot drink adequate fluids; experience nausea or vomiting; have difficulty staying awake; or your blood glucose level is over 240 mg/dl after taking two extra doses of insulin over a 24-hour period.

 

 

More articles on Diabetes Definitions

 

 


Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

 

 

Understanding Your Lab Test Results
Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires an enormous amount of self-care and that can... Article

Eating Disorders and Diabetes: What's the Connection?
This week, from February 23 to March 1, is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. You might... Blog

New Type 2 Diabetes Drug Approved
On January 8, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the oral Type 2 diabetes... Blog

How frequently should I check my blood glucose while I'm pregnant? Get tip


Carbohydrate Restriction: An Option for Diabetes Management
Some people find that decreasing the amount of carbohydrate they eat can help with blood glucose control. Here’s what to know about this approach.

Insulin Patch Pumps: A New Tool for Type 2
Patch pumps are simpler to operate than traditional insulin pumps and may be a good option for some people with Type 2 diabetes who need insulin.

How Much Do You Know About Vitamins?
Learn what these micronutrients can and can’t do for you.

Complete table of contents
Get a FREE ISSUE
Subscription questions