Diabetic ketoacidosis warrants urgent medical care

Patient

Q: Is it possible to be in diabetic ketoacidosis without blood sugars being over 600? Say between 400-500? Feeling very tired but not sick and urine ketones show high.

Doctor

A:   Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) may occur with elevated blood sugars in Type I diabetes mellitus. DKA is defined by an elevated blood sugar level, in addition to the presence of ketone bodies and an acidic shift in the acid-base balance of the blood. The blood sugar does not have to be within a certain range, but it is usually significantly elevated. If your blood sugars are consistently elevated with associated fatigue in Type I DM, with the presence of ketone bodies in the urine, I would advise urgent medical attention, either with your family physician or local emergency room.

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