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Diabetic Ketoacidosis


Updated August 25, 2006

Definition: Diabetic ketoacidosis, aka DKA, is a serious complication of diabetes, which occurs when a very high blood sugar level (above 300 mg/dL) is coupled with a severe shortage of insulin in the body. This is more common in Type I diabetes because the body produces very little or no insulin on it's own. The body starts to break down fat for energy and ketones (toxic acids) develop. People with DKA usually complain of nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, rapid breathing, and sometimes a fruity odor on their breath. This can lead to coma or death and should be treated by medical personnel immediately.
Also Known As: DKA
People with Type I diabetes must be careful that their blood sugar levels don't get too high, or they might develop diabetic ketoacidosis.

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