Tweet Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a dangerous complication faced by people with diabetes which happens when the body starts running out of insulin. DKA is most commonly associated with type 1 diabetes, however, people with type 2 diabetes that produce very little of their own insulin may also be affected. Ketoacidosis is a serious short term complication which can result in coma or even death if it is not treated quickly. Read about Diabetes and Ketones What is diabetic ketoacidosis? DKA occurs when the body has insufficient insulin to allow enough glucose to enter cells, and so the body switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies. A high level of ketone bodies in the blood can cause particularly severe illness. Symptoms of DKA Diabetic ketoacidosis may itself be the symptom of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. Typical symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include: Vomiting Dehydration An unusual smell on the breath –sometimes compared to the smell of pear drops Deep laboured breathing (called kussmaul breathing) or hyperventilation Rapid heartbeat Confusion and disorientation Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis usually evolve over a 24 hour period if blood glucose Continue reading >> What is it like when someone hyperventilates? Is what I'm experiencing considered hyperventilating? Rapid, fast deep breathing is a sign. It can be hyperventilation syndrome, an actual condition where blood gas values, free calcium and pH are out of whack. It can reflect serious pH changes such as in high blood acid states such as ketoacidosis, aspirin overdose, or heavy exercise compensation. It can present with a pulmonary embolism. Emotionally, hyperventilation syndrome generally results from/in a great deal of anxiety and it becomes its own snowball effect. Part of this is because true hyperventilation leads to decreased blood flow to the brain and eventual fainting, and it leads to relative hypocalcemia leading to tingling in the lips, cramping or even apparent tonic-like extremity seizures, all of which contribute to more rapid breathing until you finally conk out and reset. If you feel the numbness and tingling, it is a good sign you are in respiratory alkalosis and, if combined with a prior history of hyperventilation syndrome, you can probably “relax” knowing it’s that. Try paper bag breathing, breathing in and holding a second, yoga, eating something to force you to down-regulate your breathing. Otherwise, if you’re in doubt, go to the hospital or call 911. Be aware many, many paramedics do not understand the difference between hyperventilation syndrome and hyperpnea . If you ever develop new, sudden onset rapid breathing and air hunger, especially if it happens a short while after surgery, a broken bone, sitting a long time, calf cramps, or pregnancy or delivery, and you haven’t had a history of psychological problems, that is very possibly a life-threatening condition resulting from a pulmonary embolism. A pulse oximeter like one you can buy online really easy can confirm this by showing your SpO2 is lower than 96%. Another cause of gradually increasing rapid deep breathing is if you either a) forget your insulin and your blood sugar creeps way up, or you are diabetic and didn’t know it. In that case the anxiety and tingling should not be there, and your SpO2 will be in the high 90s. 84 Views · 1 Upvote · Answer requested by Krista Neal