Diabetes – DKA and Ketones

My Diabetes Project – DKA and Ketones

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DKA can occur when your cells aren’t getting enough glucose and your body starts burning fat for energy, which produces chemicals called ketones. This usually happens because your body doesn’t have enough insulin to use the glucose in your blood. When ketones start building up in the blood, they make it more acidic, which is a warning sign that your diabetes is out of control or that you’re getting sick.

  1. Signs and symptoms of DKA are thirst or very dry mouth; frequent urination; high blood glucose levels; high levels of ketones in urine; constantly feeling tired; dry or flushed skin; nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain; difficulty breathing; fruity odour on breath; having difficulty paying attention or being confused.
  2. You can test for ketones in your urine by using a test strip provided by your doctor, who will explain how to use them.  You should check for ketones if your blood glucose is over 240 mg/dL, if you are sick (a cold or  flu) or if you have any other symptoms of DKA.  Contact your doctor if your urine has high levels ketones, especially if your blood sugar levels are high and you have vomited more than twice in four hours.

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