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Are Inmates in Texas Protected from Medical Neglect?~Pt.2

DM County Jail

The Devastating Effects of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

When the body doesn’t get enough insulin, the liver begins breaking down fat for fuel. This process produces acids called ketones. Elevated ketones are a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Signs of DKA should always be treated as a medical emergency because treatment is needed without delay.

People who most commonly get DKA are those with type 1 diabetes. But people with type 2 diabetes can also develop diabetic ketoacidosis. Sometimes, DKA is the first evidence of diabetes in people who have never been diagnosed.

In jails, inmates with diabetes should be monitored so that any symptoms of DKA can be addressed quickly. If an inmate is very thirsty and has been urinating much more than usual, medical staff should note that it could be that the individual is showing early signs of DKA. If no treatment is provided, the symptoms become more severe, and they appear quickly. Those symptoms are:

  • Dry skin and mouth
  • Headache
  • The breath is fruity smelling
  • Fast, deep breathing
  • Flushed face
  • Aches or muscle stiffness
  • Very fatigued
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Causes of DKA

The conditions in the body that cause DKA are low insulin levels and very high blood sugar levels. These conditions can result from:

  • Missing insulin shots, the wrong insulin dose, or a clogged insulin pump
  • Illness. When people are ill, they may not eat or drink as much as normal, and this can make blood sugar levels difficult to manage.

Learn more in Part 1 of this continuing series.

Providing assistance to detainees now or formerly incarcerated in a city or county jail in Texas is one of the purposes of this website. There is never any intention of implicating any person or institution in acts of wrongdoing.

–Guest Contributor

Written By: author image smchugh
author image smchugh