Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones.The condition develops when your body can't produce enough insulin. Insulin normally plays a key role in helping sugar (glucose) - a major source of energy for your muscles and other tissues - enter your cells. Without enough insulin, your body begins to break down fat as fuel. This process produces a build-up of acids in the bloodstream called ketones, eventually leading to diabetic ketoacidosis if untreated.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is an emergency and requires urgent medical attention, often in and intensive care setting. The goal of treatment is to correct the elevated blood glucose level by giving additional insulin and to replace fluids and electrolytes lost through excessive urination and vomiting. You will require close monitoring including regular finger prick glucose measurements, vital observations, fluid charts, blood tests and ECG monitoring. You may need a catheter into the bladder to measure urine output accurately. Monitoring is essential as there is a very fine balance between the fluid and electrolyte levels in your body.
A blood sugar reading of 11 mmol/l or more is a sign that you're at risk of diabetic ketoacidosis and should check your ketone level if you feel ill. A ketone level reading of 2+ or more on urine strips or 0.6 mmol/l or more in your blood is a sign that you need to take immediate action to correct your levels.Adjusting your insulin dose as advised by your diabetes care team will often correct your blood sugar and ketone levels, preventing diabetic ketoacidosis. Seeking medical advice if levels remain high after taking insulin.
Australian adults (5%), about 917,000 people, had diabetes in 2011–12, based on self-reported and measured data.29,545 people started using insulin in 2013 to treat their diabetes.900,000 hospitalisations-9% of all hospitalisations in 2013–14-where diabetes was the principal and/or additional diagnosis.1 in 10 or 15,095 Australian deaths in 2012, recorded diabetes as an underlying or associated cause of death.3 times as high diabetes death rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians.2 times as high diabetes death rates in the lowest socioeconomic group compared with the highest group.