Diabetic Ketoacidosis | Treatment


How is DKA treated?

DKA causes excessive urination, which means you can become dehydrated and your body can lose electrolytes (minerals in your blood that help your body function). If you are diagnosed with DKA, your doctor will most likely treat you with fluids containing electrolytes and insulin (usually through an IV). Fluids can help rehydrate you and dilute some of the sugar in your blood. Electrolytes will help your body function normally. Insulin will help lower your blood sugar level.

Should I keep taking insulin when I'm sick?

Yes, you should keep taking your insulin, even if you are too sick to eat. Your body needs insulin even if you are not eating. Ask your doctor whether it is necessary to adjust your dose or take extra insulin.

If you use an insulin pump, make sure that you have short-acting insulin, long-acting insulin and needles in case your pump is not working right. You also should have an emergency phone number to call for help with your pump.

What else should I do?

When you're sick, drink lots of sugar-free, caffeine-free liquids. Sip small amounts every few minutes if you are feeling sick to your stomach.

If your blood sugar level is more than 250 mg per dL, avoids foods that are high in carbohydrates.


Diabetic Ketoacidosis by David E. Trachtenbarg, M.D. (American Family Physician May 01, 2005, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20050501/1705.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/14
Created: 07/05