All About Ketones and DKA


Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening but often preventable complication of diabetes that occurs when the body is not receiving enough insulin to break down glucose, forcing the body to break down fat as fuel. This releases ketones into the bloodstream, which can cause the blood to become acidic, resulting eventually in system failure and even death. Understanding ketones and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a necessity for everyone living with Type 1 diabetes. Recognizing, testing for, and effectively treating ketones and DKA are basic survival skills, but are often left out of the health education conversations that focus on day-to-day blood sugar management.

A recent poll of Beyond Type 1 community members found that over half had experienced DKA while living with Type 1 diabetes, and more than a third have no way of checking for ketones at home. Here we have consolidated some helpful resources and personal stories of DKA from some of our community members with a goal to provide vital information and help mitigate risks of DKA.


DKA Resources

DKA Stories

Flaws in Technology: A Case of DKA

Ilse Michelle Mora Rodríguez is a doctor who has lived with Type 1 for nearly her entire life. Her brush with DKA came when she least expected it.MORE

‘This Doesn’t Happen To Me’ — A New DKA Perspective

Neil Greathouse shares his DKA experience and how the incident truly humbled him.MORE

A Deadly Lack of Information

Jillian Rippolone shares the story of one of her DKA experiences. She laments not having more information and her inability to recognize symptoms.MORE

Lessons Learned: Michelle’s Unusual DKA Experience

Michelle Lord shares her DKA experience + the importance of testing for ketones.MORE


Note: Updated resources on how to recognize and treat DKA while managing Type 1 diabetes were made possible with a grant from Lexicon Pharmaceuticals.