Diabetes Wiki

Ketoacidosis is a medical emergency caused by hyperglycemia, which results in large amounts of acid in the blood. Ketoacidosis can happen to people with type 1 diabetes; it is rare in people with type 2 diabetes. Untreated ketoacidosis may lead to diabetic coma or death.

Ketoacidosis is caused by a buildup in the bloodstream of ketones, acids which are produced when the body burns fat to produce energy.


The early symptoms of ketoacidosis include frequent urination, thirst, high blood glucose level, and high levels of ketones in the urine.

As the condition develops, the patient may experience constant fatigue, dry or flushed skin, shortness of breath, difficulty paying attention, confusion, and vomiting.


The American Diabetes Association list the following causes [1] of Ketones resulting into Ketoacidosis:

  1. Not getting enough insulin. Maybe you did not inject enough insulin. Or your body could need more insulin than usual because of illness. If there is not enough insulin, your body begins to break down body fat for energy.
  2. Not enough food. When people are sick, they often do not feel like eating. Then, high ketones may result. High ketones may also occur when someone misses a meal.
  3. An insulin reaction (low blood glucose). When blood glucose levels fall too low, the body must use fat to get energy. If testing shows high ketones in the morning, the person may have had an insulin reaction while asleep.


Ketoacidosis is a very dangerous and serious complication and required immediate medical assistance. It results into complication like:

  • Hypokalemia: a potentially fatal condition in which the body fails to retain sufficient potassium to maintain health. The condition is also known as potassium deficiency.
  • Cerebral edema: Cerebral edema (cerebral oedema in British English) is an excess accumulation of water in the intra- and/or extracellular spaces of the brain. If left untreated, it can lead to death.
  • Hyperglycemia: The technical term for a blood glucose level that is too high. Hyperglycemia is the major cause of many of the complications associated with diabetes. Chronic hyperglycemia leads to organ damage; acute hyperglycemia can lead to life-threatening ketoacidosis.
  • Ketoacidemia:
  • Fluid and Electrolyte Depletion:
  • Aspiration:
  • Unrecognize renal tubular necrosis
  • Pulmonary edema: Pulmonary edema (or oedema in British English) is swelling and/or fluid accumulation in the lungs. It leads to impaired gas exchange and may cause respiratory failure.

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