Every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world, someone loses a lower limb as a result of diabetes. That's because diabetes and wounds are a dangerous combination.
If you have diabetes, there's no such thing as a minor wound to the foot -- even a small foot sore can turn into an ulcer that, if not properly treated, can lead to amputation. The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for those who don't have the disease.
Most of these amputations could easily be prevented with...
Because the cells cannot receive sugar for energy, the body begins to break down fat and muscle for energy. When this happens, ketones, or fatty acids, are produced and enter the bloodstream, causing the chemical imbalance (metabolic acidosis) called diabetic ketoacidosis.
What causes DKA?
Ketoacidosis can be caused by not getting enough insulin, having a severe infection or other illness, becoming severely 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 high.
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?
When 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.