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by Sue Walker -
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Preventing DKA at Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus in Children 

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In 2019 Clinical Excellence Queensland funded a project to reduce unacceptably high rates of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) at diagnosis in Queensland children. DKA is the major cause of mortality in children with Type 1 Diabetes. This webinar forms part of a campaign to prevent DKA at diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. 

What is DKA?

DKA is a metabolic emergency caused by insulin deficiency and can lead to cerebral oedema, so children require intensive care support. DKA at diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes is considered preventable if the early symptoms of high blood glucose are recognised by parents and early assessment is undertaken with a simple and inexpensive random finger-prick blood glucose check. 

The 4T symptoms are:

  • Thirsty 
  • Going to the Toilet frequently to urinate,
  • Tired
  • Losing weight and getting Thinner

If these symptoms exist, the child may have Type 1 diabetes. Early recognition of the 4T symptoms is key to preventing DKA at the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.

Children with DKA at diagnosis don’t go through a honeymoon period with gradual loss of beta cell function. It is associated with suboptimal diabetes leading to long-term kidney and eye complications related to high blood glucose levels.