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Know The Signs of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Written by Courteney

Posted on February 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm

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Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially fatal diabetic condition whereby a person has an acutely elevated blood sugar level of 250 mg/dL or greater due to a severe lack of insulin combined with a surplus of ketones. This condition is most often a result of poorly managed diabetes or frequently missed insulin doses. Other emergency conditions can also throw the body out of whack, resulting in ketoacidosis, such as a heart attack, infection or other trauma.

Signs and Symptoms of Ketoacidosis

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Confusion or mood changes such as irritability
  • Weakness or faintness
  • Vomiting or inability to eat
  • Fruity smelling breath
  • Extremely dry skin, mouth or eyes
  • Tachycardia
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Fever or chills
  • In extreme cases, the person may go into shock or a diabetic coma

Ketoacidosis in Children

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is the leading cause of death among diabetic children. Tragically each year, children die suddenly from what a parent, teacher or guardian may mistake as an infection or virus, but is actually severe ketoacidosis resulting from undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes. If a child under your care is exhibiting the above-mentioned symptoms, it is important to seek emergency care to rule out or confirm uncontrolled type 1 diabetes. It could very well be a simple infection, but it could just as easily be potentially-deadly ketoacidosis, so it is best to act fast.

If someone you are with is exhibiting the symptoms listed above, be sure to get emergency medical attention. If your child has diabetes be sure to know the signs of ketoacidosis to help prevent a crisis. Alternately, if you believe your child may have undiagnosed diabetes (check out the 7 major signs here), have them evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible to ensure they receive the proper medication and care.

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