Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones.

Diabetic ketoacidosis develops when your body is unable to produce enough insulin. Insulin normally plays a key role in helping sugar (glucose) — a major source of energy for your muscles and other tissues — enter your cells. Without enough insulin, your body begins to break down fat as an alternate fuel. This process produces a buildup of toxic acids in the bloodstream called ketones, eventually leading to diabetic ketoacidosis if untreated.

If you have diabetes or you're at risk of diabetes, learn the warning signs of diabetic ketoacidosis — and know when to seek emergency care.

Oct. 23, 2012