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Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)?

DKA is a life-threatening condition caused by dangerously high blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar levels become high because your body does not have enough insulin. Insulin helps move sugar out of the blood so it can be used for energy. The lack of insulin forces your body to use fat instead of sugar for energy. As fats are broken down, they leave chemicals called ketones that build up in your blood. Ketones are dangerous at high levels.

What increases my risk for DKA?

What are the signs and symptoms of DKA?

How is DKA treated?

DKA can be life-threatening. You must get immediate medical attention. The goal of treatment is to replace lost body fluids, and to bring your blood sugar level back to normal.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

How can I help prevent DKA?

The best way to prevent DKA is to control your diabetes. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on how to manage your diabetes. The following may help decrease your risk for DKA:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my diabetes care team provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.