The accumulation of ketone bodies in the blood can make an individual dangerously dehydrated, leading to life-threatening consequences. Hence, following the prescribed insulin regimen, a well-balanced diet and regular monitoring of glucose levels can help prevent diabetic ketoacidosis.
Steps to Prevent Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Spreading Awareness among Diabetic Patients
Associated with a significant rate of mortality, diabetes ketoacidosis can be prevented by educating patients and their family members to promote constant monitoring of glucose levels, practice regular exercise and to avoid skipping insulin doses especially during an infection. Following accurate meals that are low in carbohydrates and taking prescribed medicines on time is of paramount importance in preventing the fatal consequences of diabetic ketoacidosis.
Regular Assessment of Glucose Levels
Elevated levels of blood glucose can keep the cells devoid of energy which then begin to convert fat into ketone bodies.
Hence, frequently monitoring the levels of glucose ensuring that the levels do not exceed a given target range, especially during an infection (fever, cold) , stress or trauma, which can develop ketoacidosis within a few hours, can help prevent this condition.
Recognition of its Early Symptoms
Abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea are the most prominent symptoms of ketoacidosis. Hence, it is very crucial to be aware of the early warning symptoms that occur along with high glucose levels like increased urination, dry skin, breath with a fruity smell, slurred speech, diarrhea every five or more times during a span a six hours, to be able to start the treatment on time.
Self-Monitoring of Ketone Bodies
When the cells in the body cannot utilize glucose for energy (due to lack of sufficient insulin), it uses fat as an energy source and breaks it down to ketones leading to ketoacidosis. Hence monitoring the levels of ketone by getting a blood test done or by using newer home blood sugar meters that also measure ketone levels can help prevent this condition.
Home urine tests can also be used but are known to be less accurate than blood tests. When the levels of both glucose and ketone bodies start increasing, one should not exercise and should immediately consult a doctor.
The presence of high levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate, an enzyme that is involved in the conversion of fat to ketone bodies can also serve as a sign of ketoacidosis. Therefore, when the blood glucose levels exceeds 250 mg per dL, one can also use blood test strips to measure the enzyme levels after every four hours.
High Intake of Liquids
Drinking lots of liquids especially water can help to maintain the pH in the blood, preventing acidity that causes abdominal pains. The liquids being consumed must be low in sugar and caffeine free since caffeine acts as a diuretic causing dehydration that can aggravate the symptoms of ketoacidosis.
Besides the above mentioned steps, patients using an insulin pump should constantly check for air bubbles in the pump’s tube connections and make sure that there are no leaks of insulin. Keeping the pump clean by avoiding the formation of clumps and by ensuring that the insulin being used hasn’t expired can prevent hyperglycemia that could in turn lead to diabetic ketoacidosis.