Home > Health Library > Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening blood
chemical (electrolyte) imbalance that develops in a person with diabetes when
the cells do not get the sugar (glucose) they need for energy. As a result, the
body breaks down fat instead of glucose and produces and releases substances
called ketones into the bloodstream.
People with type 1 diabetes
and some people with type 2 diabetes are at risk for DKA if they do not take
enough insulin, have a severe infection or other illness, or become severely
Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include:
Severe diabetic ketoacidosis can cause difficulty
breathing, brain swelling (cerebral edema), coma, or death.
Treatment involves giving insulin and fluids through a vein and closely
monitoring and replacing electrolytes.
Current as of:
May 23, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
I Want To...
Join Our Social Network