If you or a loved one needs diabetic ketoacidosis treatment your blood sugar is completely out of control and off the charts high. There are several things that can cause ketoacidosis, and if you have diabetes it is important to understand the symptoms and warning signs of diabetic ketoacidosis, as this condition can be life threatening.

Treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis is necessary when the body is essentially using its own fat, muscle and organs as fuel (eating itself) due to insufficient nutrition, dehydration or illness of some sort. When this begins to happen the body turns these fuels into glucose and fatty acids. Since diabetics (especially type I diabetics) do not have insulin to metabolize the sugar and fatty acids, the blood sugar spikes significantly because these fatty acids are converted to ketones through a process known as oxidation.

When this happens, blood sugar levels spike astronomically causing diabetic ketoacidosis. This condition typically requires a three step approach to treatment. If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis get to a hospital immediately.


Diabetic Ketoacidosis Treatment Guidelines


In order to understand the treatment guidelines for this condition, you must understand the symptoms and warning signs. It is important to know when you should contact your doctor or get to a hospital. Diabetic ketoacidosis is an extremely serious condition that can end in death if not treated quickly and effectively.

Here are the warning signs to watch for:

  • Excessive thirst and/or urination
  • A pungent fruity odor from the breath and/or in the urine
  • Weakness, decreased appetite, dizziness, generally feeling ill
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea (If you are diabetic and start having either of these symptoms, always contact your physician immediately.)
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, increased rate of breathing or increased heart rate
  • Dry skin and/or mouth


Your doctor should have given you guidelines for what to do when you are ill. Illness affects diabetics much differently than it does the normal population and the simple stomach flu can send a diabetic into ketoacidosis very quickly. Thus, it is important to monitor your blood sugar frequently, test your urine at home for ketones, and stay in communication with your doctor when you are generally ill.

If you are unsure about what to do and just do not feel quite right, contact your physician or visit the emergency room immediately. It is always better to error on the side of caution with this condition.


Diabetic Ketoacidosis Treatment Protocol


Quick and effective treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis is essential to a fast recovery and to preventing long lasting complications. Treating this condition usually happens in three steps.

First, the physician will order a multitude of tests to find out blood sugar levels, ketone levels, electrolyte levels and blood gas levels. The doctor may also order a urinalysis, chest x-ray, electrocardiogram or brain CT scan. These tests are imperative to the proper diagnosis and treatment of ketoacidosis.

When the physician receives the test results he will determine what treatment is necessary to get your diabetes back under control quickly. Most patients with this condition will be admitted into the hospital immediately.

Most patients will be treated with IV fluids, insulin and electrolytes to bring balance back into the blood stream and decrease the excessive glucose levels.

When the ketoacidosis is under control your doctor will recommend an important protocol to follow to prevent ketoacidosis in the future.


Treatment of Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Children


The treatment of ketoacidosis in children is much like that of adults. Diabetic ketoacidosis is more common in children because this normally happens to people with type I diabetes (juvenile onset/insulin dependent) since they do not produce any insulin at all. Thus, since type I diabetes is most often diagnosed in children, it would make sense that the majority of ketoacidosis cases would be in children or young adults.