Diabetic acidosis

March 2017


Definition


Diabetic acidosis, or diabetic ketoacidosis, is a condition that primarily affects patients with type 1 diabetes, known as insulin-dependent diabetes, but also type 2 diabetes (non-insulin-dependent diabetes) at an advanced stage. Diabetic acidosis is characterized by a buildup of ketones in the body (ketosis), which consequently increases the acidity of the blood (acidosis). Diabetic acidosis is a complication of diabetes that should be addressed very quickly because it can ultimately cause fainting, comas or, in more severe cases, death. This condition may be a way of discovering type 1 diabetes in a patient.

Diagnosis


To diagnose diabetic ketoacidosis, the doctor will carry out a medical questionnaire as well as a clinical examination. Depending on the severity of diabetic acidosis, the doctor may send the patient to the emergency department or prescribe additional tests such as:
  • A urine test for the presence of ketones and glucose;
  • A blood test, and a gas analysis, a way of studying blood pH levels;
  • An electrocardiogram, and infectious records that depict causes that could have triggered this disorder.
  • For a patient who doesn't know if he is diabetic or not, the first step will be to conduct a blood glucose test. If it shows an abnormally high level of sugar in the blood, a comprehensive review of the presence of diabetes and hospitalization are often necessary.

Symptoms


Diabetic acidosis manifests itself in different ways. The symptoms are related to increased blood acidity and include:
  • dehydration, which can be more or less pronounced;
  • fatigue;
  • a heightened thirst;
  • nausea;
  • occasional weight loss;
  • disorientation, or even coma at an advanced stage.

The presence of acetone in large quantities has the particular characteristic of giving a fruity odor to the patient's breath.

Treatment


The treatment of diabetic acidosis is a medical ones and involves hospitalization. The goal being to reduce blood acidity and blood sugar, treatment is given via a drip or injection at regular intervals until the ketone bodies are evacuated. The treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis includes rehydration of the patient coupled with insulin administered intravenously and monitoring in a hospital environment.

Prevention


It is possible to prevent Diabetic acidosis with a strict control of one's diabetes. In fact, if one's diabetes is known and treated, diabetic acidosis may be a result of an infection or concomitant illness such as myocardial infarction, but also as a result of an omission or error in the taking of treatment. Also, it is essential to measure the blood sugar regularly and to not forget to take insulin.

Related

Original article published by . Translated by Jeff.
This document, titled "Diabetic acidosis," is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM Health (health.ccm.net).