Sunday, August 7, 2011

Diabetic Ketoacidosis - Knowledge is Power

Diabetic Ketoacidosis is something that can occur when there is low or no insulin for the body to break down sugar for fuel and instead, the body will begin to break down body fat, and the results are severe.   Many of you that  know me, know I myself and diabetic, and there have been differences of opinions with physicians and medical professionals on whether I am a type 1 (no insulin production) or a type 2 (low insulin production due to weight/diet).  Either way, when I was pregnant this last winter/spring, I was hospitalized for gastroenteritis and ketoacidosis.  I was hospitalized and monitored for a few days in the hospital, and it wasn't pretty and something I hope I never suffer from again.

Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis range from light to severe.  One is constant thirst and frequent urination. Another is fatigue, headaches, muscle stiffness, trouble breathing when lying down. These are common symptoms, also found in diabetics that goes undetected, as it's something that is shrugged off easily.  In my case I was pregnant!!  Why would I think anything was wrong?  Are these all things that most pregnant women complain about?

I finally went to the hospital because I was vomiting even after drinking water.  Nothing was held down, and even though I looked flushed, I really wasn't holding any type of fever.  At first we thought it might be food poisoning, but after blood and urine testing, it was clear ketoacidosis was the issue.  I was in there for 4 days as they pumped my body intravenously with fluids, as I continued to vomit the grey/black broken down body fat, because I hadn't eaten anything in days until my body finally reached a moment of homeostasis and I was able to keep food down and process it, instead of regurgitating it.  It was not a pretty picture, and you feel so helpless, because there is nothing you can do.  The scary thing about this too is, if not treated properly, the mental stupor it can put you in can lead into a coma.  I slept for almost the entire time I was hospitalized, but thankfully I never slipped into one.  Keep in mind, I was going through all this while 7 months pregnant, and less than a month later is when the placenta broke away from my uterine wall and caused Dylan to asphyxiate in the womb, leading to an emergency c-section and him being in the NICU for 5 weeks.

And, for the most part, I was doing everything right.  Taking my insulin, trying to watch what I ate, but treating diabetes isn't an exact science.  Sure there are things we are all told to do, how to do them, but there are days our bodies have their own plan that goes against everything we've been educated and trained to do in dealing with diabetes.

Read more on Diabetic Ketoacidosis on Yahoo Health.

For more information on the warning signs of diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association.


  1. Cher, I think it is great that you are making things like this public for others to learn from!!!

  2. Thanks Jody! It's amazing how symptoms we can brush off so easily can turn into something so serious!

  3. Cher, thank you for educating us on this. It's really an important issue. I had no idea that such "minor" symptoms could point to such serious stuff.


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