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Why Are Ketones Produced?

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Diabetes And Ketones

Tweet The presence of high levels of ketones in the bloodstream is a common complication of diabetes, which if left untreated can lead to ketoacidosis. Ketones build up when there is insufficient insulin to help fuel the body’s cells. High levels of ketones are therefore more common in people with type 1 diabetes or people with advanced type 2 diabetes. If you are suffering from high levels of ketones and seeking medical advice, contact your GP or diabetes healthcare team as soon as possible. What are ketones? Ketones are an acid remaining when the body burns its own fat. When the body has insufficient insulin, it cannot get glucose from the blood into the body's cells to use as energy and will instead begin to burn fat. The liver converts fatty acids into ketones which are then released into the bloodstream for use as energy. It is normal to have a low level of ketones as ketones will be produced whenever body fat is burned. In people that are insulin dependent, such as people with type 1 diabetes, however, high levels of ketones in the blood can result from taking too little insulin and this can lead to a particularly dangerous condition known as ketoacidosis. How do I test for Continue reading >>

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  1. Michael Simpson

    Diabetic ketoacidosis (the formal name, and the one most diabetics use, abbreviating it as DKA) can happen in Type 2 diabetics, but as you implied it is rare.
    Type 1 diabetics totally lack or have insufficient amounts of insulin. So the body produces the antagonistic hormone, glucagon, because there's no insulin, which to the body means there's low glucose. Glucagon then induces the liver to use fat as energy, producing ketone bodies while also forcing the liver to convert glycogen to glucose. Unfortunately, the blood glucose levels are high because the Type 1 Diabetic has no insulin. This causes the blood osmolarity to skyrocket, and the kidneys try to compensate by removing ketones and glucose from the blood.
    Since the kidneys have a maximum capacity to clear excess glucose from the blood, the blood becomes more acidotic and ketone bodies rise at the same time. And that leads to more serious issues like coma and death.
    The feedback systems are all broken, so the body spins out of control. It is often the first sign of Type 1 diabetes.
    So the one difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics is that Type 1 has no insulin, but Type 2 generally has insulin in the blood to suppress the release of glucagon. And this is why it's rare in Type 2 diabetics.

  2. Liang-Hai Sie

    We need insulin to be able to utilize glucose, type 2 has some insulin, not enough because of the insulin resistance, type 1 don't, so in type one ketosis can develop because the lack of insulin causes the body to burn fat that forms ketones if no inslin is administered. I knew a man who every time he was arrested by intent "forgot" to inject his insulin so ended in hospital with a keto-aciditic diabetic coma, out of jail.

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