What is Ketoacidosis?
Ketoacidosis is a medical condition characterized by lack of insulin in the blood resulting to very high sugar levels and high-acid or ketone content. It is sometimes referred to as uncontrolled diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis.
Patients with diabetes are the ones affected by this serious medical concern. Usually it starts with a condition known as hyperglycemia wherein there is too much glucose or sugar in the blood. This happens because there is not enough insulin circulating in the blood. After a while, when the body detects so much glucose, it will go into an “energy crisis” mode wherein the body’s fat stores are utilized as energy sources. This will then result to more ketones and make the blood more acidic. This process commonly happens when a diabetic becomes dehydrated, in which the body will respond by breaking down fat and liver cells to use as energy.
Common causes of ketoacidosis include infections such as UTI or pneumonia. In these cases, the body will secrete more stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine resulting in hyperglycemia. Sudden onset of Type 1 diabetes may also lead to this serious medical condition. For those under insulin treatment, a missed shot may also trigger the start of ketoacidosis.
Once ketoacidosis sets in, diabetic patients may feel tired and thirsty. They also usually have dry mouths and may urinate too often. As dehydration symptoms become more evident, patients may have abdominal pains or may vomit. Often patients will be confused, will have labored breathing, and may have fever. Others will look really ill, have low blood pressure, and have ketone breath which is a fruity odor.
Immediate medical attention is advised when a patient has ketoacidosis. Body fluids must immediately be replaced to stop dehydration. Insulin therapy should also be commenced to control the sugar in the blood. Constant monitoring of the patient’s condition must be done to avoid untoward incidences.