What Are The Symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

difficulty breathing

Story at-a-glance -

  • The symptoms for diabetic ketoacidosis tend to develop quickly. Indicators can manifest in as little as 24 hours, especially if a patient's blood glucose levels remain too high
  • Ideally, Type 1 diabetes patients should test their urine for ketones if they get a glucometer reading of over 250 mg/dl twice. People who are sick or planning to work out and have blood sugar levels of 350 mg/dl or higher must take a test too

Diabetic ketoacidosis symptoms tend to develop quickly. Indicators can manifest in as little as 24 hours, especially if a patient's blood glucose levels become and remain too high. Some of the most common signs of diabetic ketoacidosis include:1,2,3,4

Excessive thirst

Frequent urination (this occurs because the kidneys try to eliminate excess glucose from the body, and water is often excreted along with glucose)

Nausea and vomiting

Abdominal pain

Flushing of the skin

Dry skin

Weakness or fatigue

Shortness of breath

Fruity-scented breath (sometimes compared to the smell of pear drops)

Rapid heartbeat

Confusion and disorientation

Other mental changes, such as problems with concentration

For some people, these symptoms may be the first indication that they have diabetes.

Watch Out for These More Specific Symptoms

Other symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis tend to be more specific and can be detected through home blood and urine testing kits:5

Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels — It’s advised that if you feel ill or stressed, or have had a recent illness or injury, your blood sugar levels must be checked often.

High ketone levels in the urine — Ketones can be detected with a simple urine test using test strips.

Experts advise that you should check your urine for ketones when blood glucose levels are more than 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or if you notice early symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis.

Sick patients must check for ketones as well if their blood glucose levels are more than 240 mg/dl, every four to six hours.6

It's recommended that Type 1 diabetes patients maintain a supply of home urine ketone tests so they can constantly check ketone levels. Ideally, Type 1 diabetes patients should test their urine for ketones if they get a glucometer reading of over 250 mg/dl twice. People who are sick or planning to work out and have blood sugar levels of 250 mg/dl or higher must take a test too.7

If You Notice These Symptoms, Get Medical Help Immediately

You must talk to your doctor immediately if you:8

Vomit and are unable to tolerate food or liquid

Have blood sugar levels that are higher than the normal range and don't respond to home treatment

Have urine ketone levels that are moderate or high

Meanwhile, it’s advisable to seek emergency care if you :

Have blood sugar levels that are consistently higher than 300 mg/dL or 16.7 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)

Have ketones in your urine and can't reach your doctor for advice

Exhibit multiple symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis

Immediate treatment of a potential case of diabetic ketoacidosis is important, because if left untreated, this complication lead to a diabetic coma or even death.9

< Previous

What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Next >

Diabetic Ketoacidosis Treatment

Click Here and be the first to comment on this article
Post your comment