Summary

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is characterized by a biochemical triad of hyperglycemia, ketonemia, and acidemia, with rapid symptom onset.
  • An acute metabolic complication of diabetes that is potentially fatal if not properly treated.
  • Common symptoms and signs include polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, weakness, weight loss, tachycardia, dry mucous membranes, poor skin turgor, hypotension, and, in severe cases, shock.
  • Successful treatment includes correction of volume depletion, hyperglycemia, electrolyte imbalances, and comorbid precipitating events, with frequent monitoring.
  • Complications of treatment include hypoglycemia, hypokalemia, hypoxemia, and rarely pulmonary edema.
  • Cerebral edema, a rare but potentially rapidly fatal complication, occurs mainly in children. It is prevented by avoiding overly rapid fluid and electrolyte replacement.

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