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Diabetic Ketoacidosis


Overview :

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) always results from a severe insulin deficiency. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the body to lower the blood sugar levels when they become too high. Diabetes mellitus is the disease resulting from the inability of the body to produce or respond properly to insulin, required by the body to convert glucose to energy. In childhood diabetes, DKA complications represent the leading cause of death, mostly due to the accumulation of abnormally large amounts of fluid in the brain (cerebral edema). DKA combines three major features: hyperglycemia, meaning excessively high blood sugar kevels; hyperketonemia, meaning an overproduction of ketones by the body; and acidosis, meaning that the blood has become too acidic.

Insulin deficiency is responsible for all three conditions: the body glucose goes largely unused since most cells are unable to transport glucose into the cell without the presence of insulin; this condition makes the body use stored fat as an alternative source instead of the unavailable glucose for energy, a process that produces acidic ketones, which build up because they require insulin to be broken down. The presence of excess ketones in the bloodstream in turn causes the blood to become more acidic than the body tissues, which creates a toxic condition.




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