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Diabetic ketoacidosis

  • Alternative Names

    DKA; Ketoacidosis


    The goal of treatment is to correct the high blood glucose level by giving more insulin. Another goal is to replace fluids lost through excessive urination and vomiting. You may be able to recognize the early warning signs and make appropriate corrections at home before the condition gets worse.

    Most of the time, you will need to go to the hospital. The following will be done at the hospital:

    • Insulin replacement will be given.
    • Fluids and electrolytes will be replaced.
    • The cause of the condition (such as infection) will be found and treated.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Acidosis can lead to severe illness or death. Improved therapy for young people with diabetes has decreased the death rate from this condition. However, it remains a significant risk in the elderly, and in people who fall into a coma when treatment has been delayed.

    • Fluid buildup in the brain (cerebral edema)
    • Heart attack and death of bowel tissue due to low blood pressure
    • Renal failure

    Calling your health care provider

    This condition can become a medical emergency. Call your health care provider if you notice early symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis.

    Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you experience:

    • Decreased consciousness
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Fruity breath
    • Mental stupor
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting