What Is Ketoacidosis?
Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition that is most often the result of untreated or poorly managed diabetes. It refers to a high concentration of ketones, which causes blood to be too acidic. This can lead to rapid organ failure and serious complications that can lead to death. Ketoacidosis is most often found in diabetic patients under the age of 30 and is the leading cause of death in young diabetic patients.
Ketoacidosis is most often caused by poorly treated diabetes, whether it be insufficient insulin or following a poor diet. It can also be the result of excessive alcohol consumption or starvation/lack of nutrients.
Diabetic ketoacidosis refers to the high concentration of ketones caused by poorly managed or untreated diabetes.
Alcoholic ketoacidosis is the result of the dehydration that excessive alcohol consumption causes.
Starvation ketoacidosis occurs when the body is not provided food or nutrients and begins to break down stored fat, producing excess ketones.
- High blood sugar (over 300mg)
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid breath
- Shortness of breath
- Breath that smells fruity
- A very dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty concentrating
- Extreme fatigue
- Rapid heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
Ketoacidosis is usually diagnosed by emergency room physicians because of its rapid onset and life-threatening nature. A urinalysis can confirm excess ketones in the urine. Blood panels can confirm high blood sugar/glucose levels which are indicative of unmanaged diabetes, which can lead to ketoacidosis.
Due to the life-threatening severity of ketoacidosis, it requires prompt treatment and a hospital stay. Treatment will include plenty of intravenous fluids as well as an increase in the patient’s insulin dosage until the blood sugar lowers and the ketone concentration is within healthy range.