Living with diabetes Ketoacidosis

I am writing this topic because i have faced the condition of diabetic ketoacidosis and have understood how dangerous the condition is for Type 1 diabetic.
I got diagnosed with diabetes 2 years back and since then have made great efforts to manage my blood sugar. After knowing about the seriousness of diabetic complications, i have not left any stone unturned in managing my sugar levels.
My Success in diabetes management comes from the fact that i have been maintaining my HBA1C level of 4.8 since my diabetes diagnosis. My doctors were also impressed and in awe of my discipline and dedication.

Much of my success comes from strict control of carbohydrate based diet. I have limited my carbohydrate intake and was more into fat based diet like eggs, meat and green vegetables (also known as Ketogenic diet)

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I was doing very well until one night after waking up i felt dizziness and nauseatic. I felt that it may be due to overnight blood sugar drop so without checking my bloodsugar i took some sugary drink so that the blood sugar fall in place. I did all right for sometime but that unpleasant feeling didn’t go away.
That night i could not sleep.
I checked my blood sugar and it came normal.
At that point i didnot understand why i was feeling that way.

It was very clear that the symptom (dizziness, nausea, weakness) was not due to my blood sugar problem. There was something else going on in my body.

Diabetes is a complicated disease. I have seen my mother died due to this illness.
She was doing all well and next morning she was dead.

Knowing the complexity of this disease, i went to the nearest hospital for regular checkup. They did some routine test like blood sugar, ECG, Blood pressure etc but nothing came out.
After getting normal reports, i was relieved and thought that this might be a one time condition and there is nothing to worry about.

But the condition was here to stay.
I was feeling weak and dizzy all the time. The condition was getting worse in the night, i just could not sleep due to nausea and the head spin.

Within 3 days i was in miserable condition.
I was scared to go outside due to dizziness, was eating less and felt like puking all the time.
At this point i understood that something is seriously wrong with my body and i need to visit my endocrinologist.

I went to my doctor’s office, its been a year since i met him.
I told him my condition and he asked me to do all the diabetes related checkup.
In the evening i found that i had KETONES in my urine.

This is a dangerous condition for a diabetic patient which can lead to coma and even death.
It was the Ketones which was causing all the problems and if i had delayed more i would be in a complicated position.

But the point was how did i got into this condition in first place?
My doctor told me that it was because of my eating habits.
After analyzing my diet we found that in the fear of controlling my blood sugar i was not fulfilling my daily calorie requirement.
My body was in fasting mode for long period of time and it started burning my body fat for energy. Fat burning cause release of ketones which increase the acidic atmosphere in the body.
I got a lesson that one cannot ignore the daily energy requirement in order to manage blood sugar. It is very important to take your daily dose of nutrients and energy for body functioning.

In this article, i have made an effort to make you aware of this dangerous condition and explain you the steps to get out of diabetic ketoacidosis.

What is diabetic ketoacidosis?
It is one of the complication among diabetic patients, especially among type 1 diabetic, where the level of acid reach dangerous level in the body.
It is caused when the body start burning your body fat for energy and in the process release acid in the body.

What are the causes of Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
It can be caused due to following factors:

1. Not enough insulin
Lack of insulin in the body can increase your blood sugar to dangerously high levels.
Without insulin, the body cells do not get enough energy for their functioning and they start using fat as their energy sources raising ketones level in the body.

2. Not eating enough food
Fasting for prolonged period of time can also cause diabetic ketoacidosis.
This is what happened to me.
In order to control my blood sugar, I got overly cautious with my eating habit resulting in lack of carbohydrate in the body.

The above two are the major causes of this problem among diabetic patients.


3. Rigorous Exercise

Sometimes over exercise can also cause this problem.
If you are not well fed, the body may start using fat to gain energy.

Symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Make sure you visit your doctor immediately when you face following symptoms
a. Dry Mouth
b. Nausea/Vomiting
c. Dizziness/Confusion
d. Weakness
e. Abdominal Pain

Caution: People have misconception that ketoacidosis occurs only in the case of high blood sugar. In my case my blood sugar was perfectly normal (under 140 mg/dl) but i was in this severe condition.

Self Check

If you have any confusion you can perform the ketone test on your own.
There are two options
a. Buy a Urine Ketone Strip
b. Test urine in the local medical laboratory

You can choose any of the methods.
I don’t think you will require doctor prescription to perform this test. The test is simple, it basically checks the presence of Ketones in your urine.

Whatever you do, please don’t delay medical intervention otherwise can be deadly for you.

1. Take proper insulin therapy
I have seen people skipping their insulin dose out of negligence.
This is unacceptable behavior which has long term health consequence. Make sure your blood sugar is within normal levels.

2. Healthy Diet
Understand that your body has some fixed amount of calorie requirement on a daily basis, insufficient supply can lead to burning of fat which ultimatel cause diabetic Ketoacidosis.

3. Check Ketone level on periodic basis
If possible buy a ketone testing strip and do the required checkup once a month. The strips will test you the severity of your body condition.
There is not much of an issue when you get Low Trace as it can be managed easily with insulin dosage; but in the case of moderate and high trace, immediate intervention is required.

4. Medical Alert Bracelet
People in diabetic ketoacidosis condition can get passed out in public space. In this case, you need immediate medical intervention, every second counts even a small delay can prove fatal.
Medical Bracelet can make people aware of your condition and immediate action can be taken.

Final Word

I hope this article make you aware of complicated condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. Remember that prevention is better than cure so please adopt healthy habits and live life free from diabetic complications

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