Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of “So, You Think You Know Diabetes”. Now, I know I was a little cruel and left you on a cliffhanger, so to speak. At the end of the last edition, we were talking about ketones and how they are made. Well, let’s dive more into ketones, and more specifically.
Now. I find this to be the SCARIEST part of diabetes. Well, this, and any lows under 40 mg/dL. Anyway, diabetic ketoacidosis is where a diabetic’s body cannot process out ketones in the body, and they start to build up. Remember, ketones are created when the body converts fat cells into energy. They start to build up in the bloodstream, and as they build, it makes it even harder for what insulin that the body can produce to be effective. Since ketones are considered to be acidic, it exacerbates the already building signs of hyperglycemia, and adds in one very key sign.
- Fruity breath: This is the biggest non-testing sign for DKA. I mean, sure, if you happen to have a ketone test kit handy, you could check for ketones that way. But, for those who are not fortunate enough to have a ketone test kit available to them (but do have their handy dandy glucometer nearby), the ability to recognize the fruity smell is vital.
(Go to about 35:40 mark in the video where Doc Robbins and Grissom are finding the cause of a smell in the case. My apologies for the poor video quality.
Diabetic ketoacidosis can be fatal if left untreated. Obviously, using insulin is one way of bringing down the ketones in your body because it will help bring down the amount of sugar in the blood as it is intended on doing. Also, a lot of clear fluids will be helpful because it helps flush your body out of the dangerous ketones. This will also help keep ketones from damaging the kidneys, because the severe dehydration that the ketones and high blood sugar causes will start to shut down the kidneys. And we all know that we need our kidneys to function.
Well, I hope that this has enlightened you to the dangers of DKA. Next week, we’ll dive into another topic. Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been obediently yours.