In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our July/August 2012 issue, we asked WebMD's diabetes expert, Michael Dansinger, MD, about the link between diabetes and poor sleep.
Q: I have diabetes, and I'm not sleeping well. Are the two related, and what can I do?
A: Yes, people with diabetes often have reduced sleep quality and quantity. Sleep apnea, medications, lack of exercise, and abnormal glucose and hormone...
Because the cells cannot receive
sugar for energy, the body begins to break down fat and muscle for energy. When this
ketones, or fatty acids, are produced and enter the
bloodstream, causing the chemical imbalance (metabolic acidosis) called
What causes DKA?
Ketoacidosis can be caused by not
getting enough insulin, having a severe infection or other illness, becoming
dehydrated, or some combination of these things. It
can occur in people who have little or no
insulin in their bodies (mostly people with
type 1 diabetes but it can happen with
type 2 diabetes, especially children) when their blood sugar levels are
What are the symptoms?
Your blood sugar may be
quite high before you notice symptoms, which include:
Laboratory tests, including
blood and urine tests, are used to confirm a diagnosis of
diabetic ketoacidosis. Tests for
ketones are available for home use. Keep some test strips nearby in case your blood sugar
level becomes high.
How is it treated?
ketoacidosis is severe, it must be treated in the hospital, often in an
intensive care unit. Treatment involves giving insulin and fluids through your
vein and closely watching certain chemicals in your blood (electrolytes). The doctors and nurses will watch you closely to be sure that your brain does not swell as the fluids treat your dehydration.
It can take several days for your blood
sugar level to return to a target range.
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Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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