Diabetic ketoacidosis and coma

Ketones are waste products that are made when your body is forced to burn body fat, instead of glucose, for energy (as happens in diabetes). Ketones build up in the blood and are excreted in the urine. This condition is known as ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis may be the first symptom of a person with Type I diabetes; or it may be the result of increased insulin needs in Type I diabetes. People with Type II diabetes usually develop ketoacidosis only under conditions of severe stress.  Signs and symptoms of ketoacidosis are :

  • Frequent urination and thirst.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Muscular stiffness.
  • Rapid and deep breathing.
  • Fruity (a pleasant odor like that of a nail polish remover) breath.
  • Mental stupor (decreased consciousness or alertness).
  • Other symptoms that may be associated include- headache, pain in abdomen, loss of appetite and low blood pressure.
  • Blood glucose level is above 300 mg/dl.
  • Urine test : shows presence of glucose and ketone in urine.

If timely management of ketoacidosis is not done it may progress on to coma (diabetic coma).