Type One Diabetes and Ketoacidosis

Type one diabetes or type 1 is a persistent autoimmune disease that results in the total destruction of all the beta cells in the pancreas that lead to complete lack of insulin. To correct this deficiency, people in this condition have to take injections of insulin.

The insulin deficit makes people with type one diabetes unable to use glucose for energy. To compensate, the body utilizes the fatty acids. The trouble is that when these fatty acids are broken down, they form into waste products called ketones.

The body attempts to get rid of these by washing them out into the urine. High level of ketones can lead to an emergency situation called ketoacidosis. So people with type one diabetes should be familiar with the signs and symptoms to alert themselves in getting prompt treatment.

Ketoacidosis Warning Signs and Symptoms

  • Frequent urination or polyuria
  • Excessive thirst or polydipsia
  • Excessive hunger or polyphagia
  • Dehydration
  • Weariness
  • Blurred vision
  • Rapid pulse and frequently labored breathing
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Ketones in the urine
  • Abdominal pain


Some ketones are driven out of the lungs giving the breath a sweet odor. The body tries to get rid of the ketones that build up in the blood by spilling them over into the urine. But the body can also rid itself of these poisonous chemicals through the lungs. These are the one type of ketone called acetone.

Whatever you do, do not ignore the warning signs because if insulin and fluids are not given promptly for this condition, the consequences are serious. It is best to take action right away. So check for ketones in the urine. This is how to do this:

  • Check ketones by using strips that change color when passed through the urine.
  • Do the test for fresh urine so empty your bladder first.
  • Then drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes.
  • When you urinate, pass the strip through the stream or dip it in the urine. The strip will change color depending on the quantity of ketones in the urine.
  • You may have to make changes in your treatment so if the test shows ketones, call the doctor for consultation.

This condition for type one diabetes can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA. It is a severe state of out-of-control diabetes combined with irregular metabolism of fat that needs emergency action. We have to know what are the causes of this so we can understand it better and be more prepared.

Ketoacidosis may happen because of illness. It may also be the result of taking too little insulin. Another factor that may trigger this is not getting enough exercise. So the body begins to use the stored fat to have energy which converts it into ketones, a dangerous chemical that can poison and even kill body cells.

If a type one diabetes person is not given insulin and fluids promptly, this could lead to coma or death. But not to us because we have this knowledge and knowledge is power. When we have this, we can react accordingly and prevent the dire consequence from happening.

Treatment of ketoacidosis must be managed by the doctor. However, when there is an emergency, go to the nearest hospital's emergency rooms where trained emergency doctors can treat you. Do this promptly as this is the key to getting over this condition and feeling better once again.

The essential treatment consists of giving sufficient insulin to turn around the condition and to fix the shortfall in the body fluids and electrolytes. As you can see the doctor and his helpers will have to monitor this closely. Almost always, the type one diabetes person will react favorably and return to his former state in a short time.


Type one diabetes has DKA or diabetic ketoacidosis as its unique feature but it also appears in type 2 although rare. No matter in what type does it occur, it is serious and dangerous so once you know that you have the symptoms, call the doctor right away and head on down to the hospital's emergency room as it could lead to coma.

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