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Diabetic acidosis


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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