Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a buildup of acids in the blood. If the body does not make enough insulin, sugar cannot move out of your child’s blood and into the cells. Your child’s blood sugar can get very high and his body burns fat instead of sugar for energy. This makes byproducts called ketones. When ketones build up to dangerous levels, it is called ketoacidosis. This can cause coma or death if not treated right away. Ketoacidosis may happen with type 1 diabetes. It rarely happens with type 2 diabetes.
DKA can happen if your child skips doses of insulin. Or it may happen if there is a change in your child’s health, such as:
If your child is using an insulin pump, it may happen if your child stops getting insulin because the pump is not working or there is a kink in the tube or the tube comes out.
Symptoms of ketoacidosis may include:
Symptoms of high blood sugar may include:
If the pancreas stops making insulin, blood sugar can get very high and ketones can build up to a high level very fast. It may happen so fast that ketoacidosis symptoms may be the first symptoms that your child has before he or she has even been diagnosed with diabetes.
Several hours to a couple of days after symptoms start, ketoacidosis may cause a coma.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Your child will have blood and urine tests.
DKA is a medical emergency and needs to be treated right away, usually at a hospital. Your child will be given insulin and IV fluids. With early treatment, your child will usually recover in hours to days.
Let your provider know right away if there are ketones in your child’s urine or blood.
Ask your child’s healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.