Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Diabetic ketoacidosis is a “serious problem”, the National Health Service (NHS) pointed out, which can reveal itself in the smell of your breath. First, it is helpful to know that diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the body begins to run out of insulin. Mainly affecting those with type 1 diabetes, it can also occur in those who have type 2 diabetes.
One of the most telling symptoms of this diabetes complication is “fruity” breath.
Described to smell like nail varnish or pear drop sweets, the symptom can develop over a 24-hour period.
Other indications of diabetic ketoacidosis include:
- Needing to pee more than usual
- Feeling very thirsty
- Being sick
- Tummy pain
- Deep or fast breathing
- Feeling very tired or sleepy
- Passing out.
When the body is depleted of insulin, ketones begin to build up in the body.
These harmful chemicals can be life-threatening, so any signs of diabetic ketoacidosis need to be addressed by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Home-testing ketone tests are available, which can measure the amount of ketones in the urine.
“If you do a urine ketone test, a result of more than 2+ means there’s a high chance you have diabetic ketoacidosis and you should get medical help immediately,” the NHS said.
High ketones warrant an immediate trip to the nearest A&E department.
If you are not sure whether you have high ketones or not, you need to get in contact with your diabetes care team as soon as possible.
The health service added: “If you cannot contact your care team or GP, call your local out-of-hours service or NHS 111 for advice.”
Hospital treatment usually involves insulin given into the vein, as well as fluids to rehydrate the body.
Nutrients may also be given intravenously to replace any that may have been lost.
You will likely be monitored for any life-threatening complications involving the brain, kidneys, or lungs.
People admitted to hospital for diabetic ketoacidosis can expect to remain there for up to two days.
While there can be numerous triggers for diabetic ketoacidosis, sometimes there simply isn’t one.
However, you can take steps to reduce your risk of diabetic ketoacidosis.
One of the best things you can do to keep on top of your blood sugar levels is to monitor them regularly.
It is also important to keep taking insulin if it is part of your diabetes treatment plan.
Furthermore, you are advised to “take extra care” when feeling under the weather.
Your diabetes care team should have a few sick day rules to follow in order for you to manage your blood sugar levels.
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