Ideal Treatment for Diabetic Ketoacidosis

frequent hydration

Story at-a-glance -

  • Patients with diabetic ketoacidosis can be treated in an emergency room or admitted to the hospital
  • Insulin treatments are commonly used to address ketoacidosis, but take note that these are very expensive — a single month's worth of insulin now costs around $255 compared to $21 in 1996

Treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis involves various approaches to help with normalizing blood sugar and insulin levels. Patients who have been diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis, but haven't been diagnosed with diabetes yet may undergo a treatment plan conceptualized by a doctor to prevent the complication from recurring.

Meanwhile, if diabetic ketoacidosis develops because of an infection or illness, treatments may be required.1 Patients with diabetic ketoacidosis can be treated in an emergency room or admitted to the hospital. These two types of treatments are typically involved:2,3

Fluid replacement — The patient will receive fluids either by mouth or intravenously until they are rehydrated. The fluids aim to replace substances that the patient loses through excessive urination and assist with diluting excess sugar in the blood.

According to EMedicineHealth, fluid replacement happens to be a critical initial treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis because of its potential to aid in reversing dehydration, reducing blood acid levels and restoring normal sugar and electrolyte balance.

Electrolyte replacement — Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium and chloride, are minerals in your body that carry an electric charge.

Lack of insulin can reduce the amount of several electrolytes in your blood. Electrolytes are received intravenously in order to help maintain normal function of the heart, muscles and nerve cells.

It’s important that fluids be administered wisely, and not at an excessive rate or total volume, because of the risk for cerebral edema or brain swelling. Once your body chemistry returns to normal, a doctor can consider additional testing to check for possible triggers for diabetic ketoacidosis. Additional treatment can also be recommended, depending on your condition.

The Financial and Physical Drawbacks of Insulin Treatment

Insulin treatments are commonly used to address ketoacidosis, but these treatments are very expensive — a single month's worth of insulin now costs around $255 compared to less than $21 back in 1996.

Other costs related to diabetes treatment such as medicines, syringes, pumps, blood sugar sensors, monitors and health care costs associated with comorbidities aren’t factored in yet, making diabetes and its complications a disease that can severely affect you financially .

In addition to the exorbitant costs, research has also suggested that this type of treatment can accelerate death and possibly increase the risk for conditions like eye and renal complications, myocardial infections, strokes, and neuropathy, to name a few.4

How to Prevent Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Proper management of diabetes is key in preventing diabetic ketoacidosis. Here are some steps you can follow:5,6

Following a meal plan and staying hydrated by drinking sufficient amounts of water.

Monitoring blood glucose levels consistently to help prevent this complication.

Developing an emergency or “sick day” plan so you may know what to do if diabetic ketoacidosis symptoms develop.

Testing urine for ketone levels during periods of high stress or illness. This can allow the patient to catch for mild to moderate ketone levels before it negatively impacts their health.

Seek medical care if blood sugar levels are higher than normal or ketones are present.

Be sure to talk to your doctor if diabetic ketoacidosis symptoms appear, before undergoing any type of treatment. This will allow you to be fully informed of what you need to go through and help prevent further complications.

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