What is diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)?

Updated: Oct 10, 2018
  • Author: Christie P Thomas, MBBS, FRCP, FASN, FAHA; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

DKA is usually precipitated in patients with type 1 diabetes by stressful conditions (eg, infection, surgery, emotional trauma), but it can also occur in patients with type 2 diabetes. Hyperglycemia, metabolic acidosis, and elevated beta-hydroxybutyrate confirm the diagnosis. The metabolic acidosis in DKA is commonly a high-AG acidosis secondary to the presence of ketones in the blood. However, after initiation of treatment with insulin, ketone production ceases, the liver uses ketones, and the acidosis becomes a non-AG type that resolves in a few days (ie, time necessary for kidneys to regenerate HCO3-, which was consumed during the acidosis).


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