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Why Does Ketoacidosis Occur

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Diabetic Ketoacidosis

What Is It? Diabetic ketoacidosis is a potentially fatal complication of diabetes that occurs when you have much less insulin than your body needs. This problem causes the blood to become acidic and the body to become dangerously dehydrated. Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur when diabetes is not treated adequately, or it can occur during times of serious sickness. To understand this illness, you need to understand the way your body powers itself with sugar and other fuels. Foods we eat are broken down by the body, and much of what we eat becomes glucose (a type of sugar), which enters the bloodstream. Insulin helps glucose to pass from the bloodstream into body cells, where it is used for energy. Insulin normally is made by the pancreas, but people with type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes) don't produce enough insulin and must inject it daily. Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School. Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. Santosh Anand

    Insulin plays a key role in helping sugar (glucose) enter your cells, thus providing them energy. When your cells don't get the glucose they need for energy, your body begins to burn fat for energy, which produces ketones. Ketones are acidic and so when they build up in the blood, they make the blood more acidic, leading to the condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
    Now, in type-1 diabetes, there is no insulin production whereas in type-2, there is impairment of insulin production. Thus why Type-2 diabetic people hardly get DKA.
    Note: Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious condition that might lead to diabetic coma or even death.

  2. Lucas Verhelst

    In order for the cells in your body to access the glucose in your bloodstream so they can use it as energy they need insulin. Insulin acts like a key, opennin the cell door to allow the entry of glucose. Type 1 diabetics produce no insulin and need to inject it, thus the amount of insulin they have is strictly limited. Once they run out of insulin the glucose remains in the blood stream. If this occurs over a long period of time their blood glucose levels will rise due to the release of glucose from the liver. High blood sugar levels causes ketoacidosis which leads to coma and death.

  3. Keith Phillips

    Although type 2 diabetics suffer from insulin resistance, the condition rarely has an absolute negative effect on the bodies ability to convert glucose to usable energy. Type 1 diabetics have little or no ability to produce insulin. With the exception of neural cells, the rest of the body which without insulin is experiencing starvation, will consume its own tissues. (this is how people have endured periods of famine). This process however produces by products that eventually overwhelm the body's ability to process toxins.

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