Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If your doctor suspects diabetic ketoacidosis, he or she will do a physical exam and various blood tests. In some cases, additional tests may be needed to help determine what triggered the episode of diabetic ketoacidosis or what damage the ketoacidosis may have caused.

Blood tests

Blood tests used in the diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis will measure:

  • Blood sugar level. If there isn't enough insulin in your body to allow sugar to enter your cells, your blood sugar level will rise (hyperglycemia). As your body breaks down fat and protein for energy, your blood sugar level will continue to rise.
  • Ketone level. When your body breaks down fat and protein for energy, toxic acids known as ketones enter your bloodstream.
  • Blood acidity. If you have excess ketones in your blood, your blood will become acidic (acidosis). This can alter the normal function of various organs throughout your body.

Additional tests

Your doctor may order tests to identify underlying health problems that may have contributed to diabetic ketoacidosis and check for complications. Tests may include:

  • Blood electrolyte tests
  • Urinalysis
  • Chest X-ray
  • A recording of the electrical activity of the heart (electrocardiogram)
Oct. 23, 2012