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What is Ketoacidosis?

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Ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition for diabetics, the main element being acid, not ketones themselves. In ketoacidosis, the blood pH level becomes dangerously acidic due to an extremely high blood glucose level triggered either because the diabetic patient has no insulin, or else because he/she doesn't respond to insulin.

As the diabetic's blood sugar rises, ketones are produced by the body to provide the fuel necessary for life, since the cells can't use the sugar due to the diabetes.

Twin Factors of Ketoacidosis

To recap, in ketoacidosis, it is twin factors of (1) high blood sugar, and (2) high acidity of the blood that trigger the condition, rather than the ketosis itself. The ketones just happen to be an associated element, and are a result of the condition, not the cause.

Ketoacidosis is not Dietary Ketosis

Ketoacidosis is often confused with dietary ketosis - a benign form of ketosis experienced when following a ketogenic diet. But dietary ketosis is perfectly safe. Ketoacidosis doesn't occur in individuals who have even a small amount of insulin, whether from natural production or (if diabetic) artificially administered.

Health Risks of Ketoacidosis

The excess acidity in the blood, which triggers ketoacidosis, is dangerous to the whole body. Although the body can regulate blood acidity up to a point, too much acid can cause the body system to fail and the acidity rises.

The result is vomiting, loss of water and minerals (sodium and potassium) and a major biochemical upset in the body. Ketoacidosis can lead to coma and death, so requires urgent medical treatment.

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