Pharmacy Clinical Pearl of the Day: Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis develops when the body can't produce enough insulin.

Clinical Pearl of the Day: Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidos is is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when the body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones.

Insight:

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis develops when the body can't produce enough insulin.
  • Insulin normally plays a key role in helping glucose enter the cells.
  • Without enough insulin, the body breaks down fat as fuel, which produces ketones.
  • Symptoms include excessive thirst, frequent urination, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, weakness or fatigue, shortness of breath, fruity-scented breath, and confusion.
  • Risk factors include having type 1 diabetes and/or frequently missing insulin doses.
  • Diagnosis includes measuring blood sugar levels, ketone levels, and blood acidity.
  • Treatment includes fluid replacement through a vein, electrolyte replacement such as sodium, potassium and chloride, and insulin therapy.
  • Insulin reverses the process of diabetic ketoacidosis and brings the sugar levels down.

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