The Lowdown On Diabetic Ketoacidosis

By Ned Dagostino

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a little known medical condition. Apart from those who have this condition, and their friends and family, the general populace is fairly ignorant of the severe implications of this condition. If the condition is untreated for too long, it may prove fatal. Type 1 diabetics are prone to suffer this condition. But this condition can just as easily occur in a non-diabetic person. The picture that emerges from studies of this condition shows that persons who have suffered severe dehydration or bacterial infection and viral attacks are susceptible to diabetic ketoacidosis.

This condition is related to the metabolic functions of the body. Food is digested to produce glucose, a form of sugar. Glucose is used by the muscles directly to carry out our basic functions. Glucose which is not needed immediately is converted to and stored as fat. Whenever the glucose levels dwindle, the body takes recourse to the stored energy reserves within our body, that is, the fats, reconverting them back to glucose, that is energy.

The presence of the fatty acid in the blood changes the chemistry of the blood and makes it more acidic than it ought to be. This condition is called ketoacidosis. The body is sufficiently competent to eliminate the excess ketones from the blood on a regular basis. If the ketoacidosis goes beyond the normal level and if it is chronic, then the normal blood chemistry is altered to such an extent that normal life becomes impossible for the sufferer. The high-risk categories are more likely to get diabetic ketoacidosis, but the other catgories are vulnerable to this condition nonetheless.

The main reason that diabetic ketoacidosis goes undetected and untreated for too long is that the symptoms of this condition become evident only when the condition has reached a critical level. So it is wiser to detect the telltale signs of this condition as early as possible. These are:

The skin is the first give-away of diabetic ketoacidosis. It becomes dry, even the lips become dry. It is either flushed or extremely pale. Though the body temperature may be normal, the skin temperature is elevated.

Blurred vision.

Diabetics with diabetic ketoacidosis emit a peculiarly sickening "sweet" odor from their breath. It seems very like the smell from a horse's mouth which has just fed on fresh grass!

Listless behavior.

Diabetic ketoacidosis severely reduces the appetite. Sometimes, a person will not be able to keep the food down, bringing it up almost immediately after eating it.

The extremely abnormal blood chemistry can affect the brain. The person with this condition can become severely disoriented.

The best advice that one can give to a person suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis is to control the blood sugar level by carefully monitoring it. In diabetic ketoacidosis the blood glucose is in a deficiency situation, so you might need to up the amount of glucose by taking glucose supplements. Remain properly hydrated by taking rehydration salts. Remember that this is going to take time, but persistence will pay off in the end. - 30540

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