“My vision is blurred and I vomited everything I put to my mouth.”  – Verbalization from a survivor of DKA or Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

  Diabetes Mellitus (DM) as a long term and debilitating illness reflects a necessity for strict monitoring and managing the disease. It has many complications including diabetic ketoacidosis. DKA is a life- threatening situation Emergency signsthat diabetics should avoid to happen. It is an emergency situation from having extreme high glucose level in the blood for a long time which could lead to a more serious one, which is diabetic coma.

   Diabetic ketoacidosis is believed to happen when a decrease in insulin in the body promotes the process of glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis which both result to high glucose level in the blood. When the body thirsted for more cellular fuel, a critical situation happens by which the body is already making use of its stored protein and fats for energy – which later results to a severe metabolic acidosis.

   Causes for DKA may be due to some viral infection, lowered immune resistance, extreme stress, or having already a type 1 diabetes. It is ironic that it is considered a complication of DM but also pertains to be the first confirmation for having type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Nurses should know what are the vital signs and symptoms that DKA manifests. According to a client with DM type 1, what she first experience were the main symptoms of diabetes mellitus, which are weight loss, polyuria, polydypsia, and polyphagia. However, she did not give much attention to these symptoms because of a stressful situation. By that time, the progress of DM to DKA should have been prevented right away. But sad to say, one early morning, she just woke up with blurred vision. She ate her breakfast but vomited it for no reasons. She experienced rapid and deep breathing, but made her ignore it because she believed it may be due to exertion. But to no avail, she became drowsy already. Her eyes had dark circles on it, which actually a sign of dehydration. She was rushed to the hospital thereafter and luckily survived the unexpected occurrence of DKA.

“I thank God for giving me the second chance of living my life despite diagnosed for Type 1 DM. Listening and paying much attention to any changes in bodily functions should really be given priority.”

It is a situation that diabetics should be alarmed of. When hyperglycemia sets in, it is advisable to take the medications prescribed by the physician and to monitor the glucose level periodically. It is helpful to drink plenty of water to hydrate oneself but if symptoms still persist, seeking medical consult in a near health care facility should be made.

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