There's much you can do to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis and other diabetes complications.
- Commit to managing your diabetes. Make healthy eating and physical activity part of your daily routine. Take oral diabetes medications or insulin as directed.
- Monitor your blood sugar level. You might need to check and record your blood sugar level at least three to four times a day — more often if you're ill or under stress. Careful monitoring is the only way to make sure your blood sugar level remains within your target range.
- Adjust your insulin dosage as needed. Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about how to adjust your insulin dosage in relation to your blood sugar level, what you eat, how active you are, whether you're ill and other factors. If your blood sugar level begins to rise, follow your diabetes treatment plan to return your blood sugar level to your target range.
- Check your ketone level. When you're ill or under stress, test your urine for excess ketones with an over-the-counter urine ketones test kit. If your ketone level is moderate or high, contact your doctor right away or seek emergency care. If you have low levels of ketones, you may need to take more insulin.
- Be prepared to act quickly. If you suspect that you have diabetic ketoacidosis — your blood sugar level is high, and you have excess ketones in your urine — seek emergency care.
Diabetes complications are scary. But don't let fear keep you from taking good care of yourself. Follow your diabetes treatment plan carefully, and ask your diabetes treatment team for help when you need it.
Aug. 21, 2015
- Ketoacidosis (DKA). American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/ketoacidosis-dka.html. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Merck Manuel Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine-and-metabolic-disorders/diabetes-mellitus-and-disorders-of-carbohydrate-metabolism/diabetic-ketoacidosis-dka. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Kitabchi AE, et al. Diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state in adults: Clinical features, evaluation and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Kitabchi AE, et al. Diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state in adults: Treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Jeffries CA, et al. Preventing diabetic ketoacidosis. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2015;62:857.
- Checking for ketones. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/checking-for-ketones.html. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.