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Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetes is a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar and no matter what type of diabetes you have, it can lead to serious complications. One such complication of diabetes is diabetic ketoacidosis, which we are going to discuss in the article.

It is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when the body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones and this condition happens when your body can’t produce enough insulin. Diabetic ketoacidosis is most likely to occur in people with type 1 diabetes and it’s less common in people with type 2 diabetes.

Causes Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis [2]

Insulin is a hormone that helps sugar enter the cells. If the body has insufficient insulin, the cells of the body can’t use sugar properly for energy. And when the sugar can’t enter the cells, it starts building up in the blood, resulting in high blood sugar levels. In response to this, the body starts breaking down fat to use it as a fuel which produces acids known as ketones.

Excessive build-up of ketones makes the blood acidic and this causes diabetic ketoacidosis. The most common triggers of diabetic ketoacidosis are illness or infection, missing an insulin injection, heart attack, physical or emotional trauma, alcohol or drug abuse, and certain diuretic medications.

Symptoms Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Excessive thirst

Urinating frequently

Abdominal pain

Nausea and vomiting

Shortness of breath

Fatigue or weakness


Fruity-smelling breath

Rapid breathing

Dry mouth and skin

Diagnosis Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis [4]

The doctor will first do a physical exam and conduct various tests to help determine what triggered diabetic ketoacidosis. These tests include the following:

Blood tests – Blood tests used in the diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis will measure blood sugar level, ketone level, and blood acidity level. X-ray – An X-ray of the chest can help look out for signs of an infection.

Urinalysis test – It will detect and check for any ketones in the urine. Blood electrolyte test – It measures the levels of electrolytes such as potassium and sodium in the blood to assess metabolic function.