Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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Consistent high blood glucose levels can lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. The cause of this is that not enough glucose enters the cells of the human body to be respired. Therefore, the body uses other reactants such as free fatty acids to produce energy instead. Whilst this keeps the body alive, it will not produce the normal products. When glucose is respired, the two products produced are carbon dioxide and water, whereas when free fatty acids are respired, ketones are produced instead. Ketones are slightly acidic, meaning when they are released into the blood they lower the pH value, consequently making the blood more acidic. The name Diabetic Ketoacidosis sounds very complicated, however it is actually quite simple. Diabetic – caused by diabetes, Keto- - It involves ketones, and -Acidosis – The blood becoming more acidic.

If not treated, ketoacidosis can eventually lead to the patient going into a coma, so early treatment is vital. The main symptom of diabetic ketoacidosis is becoming increasingly thirsty. This is because the body wants to flush the ketones out of the system via urination. Ketones are easily detected in the urine should they be present, and test strips are available for prescription. If an individual discovers high levels of ketones in their urine, through the use of the test strips, and especially if their blood glucose levels are high, they should call their doctor or diabetes specialist nurse immediately.