A to Z: Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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A to Z: Diabetic Ketoacidosis

A to Z: Diabetic Ketoacidosis

May also be called: DKA

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) (kee-toh-ah-sih-DOH-sis) is a life-threatening condition that happens when the body uses fat for energy instead of glucose.

More to Know

Glucose (a type of sugar) is the body's main energy source. But when the body can't use glucose for fuel — for instance, in someone with uncontrolled diabetes — the body breaks down fat for energy instead.

When fat is broken down, the body produces chemicals called ketones, which appear in the blood and urine (pee). High levels of ketones cause blood to have a high acid level.

illustration

Keep in Mind

Diabetic ketoacidosis is life threatening and requires immediate medical evaluation and treatment.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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