Diabetic Ketoacidosis (A Life-Threatening Complication)
Diabetic ketoacidosis is known as simply ketoacids or DKA for short. It is a life-threatening and sometimes fatal complication of type one diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis is normally caused by a decreased level of insulin in the blood.
The body is unable to produce sufficient glucose for fuel without insulin. In most cases, when a diabetic diet is used, there are high levels of glucose in the bloodstream. As a result, the liver produces excessive amounts of ketone bodies which then metabolizes into sugar in the bloodstream.
There are three main forms of diabetic ketoacidosis
One form is ketogenic and is characterized by elevated blood ketones, and the other two are nonketotic ketosis and metabolic ketosis. In metabolic ketosis, there are high blood glucose but not ketones. In nonketotic ketosis, there are high blood ketones but no glucose.
In both cases, a blood glucose level below normal is necessary for maintaining life. Because nonketotic ketosis requires a lot of glucose, this condition may be a contributing factor to diabetic ketoacidosis in the long run.
In nonketotic ketosis, blood ketones are produced primarily because the liver cannot efficiently convert stored glycogen (an organic compound obtained from carbohydrates) to glycogen. This is because of the reduced production of pancreatic glycogen.
The first step to diagnosing diabetic ketoacidosis is to have a blood test to measure the glucose level
In some cases, this condition may be more pronounced than in diabetic ketoacidosis, especially if a severe illness is present. If you have a history of ketoacidosis episodes in the past, your doctor may need to do more testing to determine if this condition is present. Your doctor will likely check to see if ketones are in the urine, or if you have an abnormal liver function.
If ketones are present, this is a good indicator that you may need to take further action and should be discussed with your doctor as soon as possible. In some cases, diabetic ketoacidosis is not diagnosed immediately. Therefore, there is no immediate medical help for the condition.
It can take weeks or months to return to normal. blood glucose levels that are in the normal range; however, a doctor will be able to prescribe insulin in order to increase the amount of glucose in the blood. For those that have long-term complications, this is often an adequate treatment.
Diabetic ketosis is treatable if timely and appropriate care is taken. You should eat only certain foods while on medication, and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine consumption is also very important in order to avoid having too much insulin in your bloodstream.
People with type 1 diabetes should watch out for changes in their body including ketone levels and glucose levels, as these may indicate a higher risk of diabetic ketosis. If you are diagnosed with this condition, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
A dietician can help with a proper diagnosis and possible ways of treating your symptoms
When blood sugar level becomes too high, ketone levels become even more elevated. Excess glucose then enters into the bloodstream where it causes damage to cells. When this happens, the liver is unable to properly break down glucose for use by cells.
As a result, the amount of glucose in the blood starts to drop leading to high blood sugar and ketones. At times, ketones may cause symptoms like vomiting or nausea. If you experience these symptoms, talk with your doctor about what you may have eaten and if you should take any kind of medication or change your diet.
In some cases, ketone levels may remain elevated for a long time without apparent reason. For example, many patients may have ketones in their urine for long periods of time without any obvious symptoms.
Dietitians who specialize in diabetic ketoacidosis recommend some changes in diet
They can help you find foods that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates that will promote normal metabolism. Some foods to avoid include high-fibre vegetables like fruits, beans and vegetables.
These foods tend to help keep the liver in tip-top shape and prevent damage caused by ketones. Fruits, which contain lots of fibre, are high in potassium, magnesium and other important electrolytes, may help to prevent damage caused by insulin.
If you are concerned that you are suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis, it is important to talk to your doctor right away. He may be able to recommend an appropriate diabetic diet and supplement to help you deal with your symptoms.
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