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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Diabetic Ketoacidosis
      Category : Health Centers > Diabetes

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Alternate Names : DKA

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, is a condition in which the body has a severe deficiency of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate the level of glucose in the blood. Glucose is the main form of sugar in the body. DKA is a serious complication of diabetes.

What is going on in the body?

Diabetes ketoacidosis is a serious but treatable complication of diabetes. A person who has DKA has a significant deficiency of insulin in his or her body. Without insulin, the body is unable to move glucose from the bloodstream to the body cells. This results in high levels of glucose and acids in the blood. DKA occurs mainly in those who have type 1 diabetes. Rarely, it can occur in those who have type 2 diabetes.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

DKA often occurs in children and young adults before they are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The symptoms of DKA often cause people to see a healthcare provider even before they are diagnosed with diabetes. DKA can also occur if a person with diabetes fails to take the right amount of insulin at the right time. It is seen more often in people younger than the age of 19, but can occur in anyone who has diabetes.

Forty percent of the time, DKA is caused by an infection. Urinary tract infections are the most common of these. Following are some other causes of DKA:

  • complications of pregnancy
  • heart attack
  • injury
  • stress
  • stroke
  • surgery
  • trauma, or severe injury


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    Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Thomas Fisher, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/11/01

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