Kussmaul breathing and diabetes

 Kussmaul breathing is a deep and laboured breathing with severe gasping usually associated with Diabetic ketoacidosis.

This is a very quick and life saving response of lungs to high amounts of ketoacids in blood.

(There are many other reasons to Kussmaul breathing too but here we are mainly concerned with diabetes).

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Why it is an important sign?

When you are diabetic, you have roller coaster blood sugars and by time you master the management of your diabetes control. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia are very well known now.

But you need to understand the severity of your hyperglycaemia at times.

Symptoms like frequent urination, increased thirst etc indicates you an increase in blood glucose levels, but many a times it is important to check your ketone levels simultaneously.

If ketoacid levels continuously rise in blood, patient has a deep and laboured breathing with a fruity smell, it is an alarming sign that patient is going through an episode of DKA and it’s high time patient needs to be hospitalised.

A rapid weight loss is also an important sign in diabetics which may indicate a prolonged hyperglycaemia with ketoacidosis.

(Obviously, other related signs and symptoms should not be ignored suggestive of some other underlying disease).

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