Ketones in Urine

November 12, 2012

Ketones in Urine

Diabetic acidosis (also called ketoacidosis) occurs when the body is lacking insulin because the correct amount of insulin has not been taken. Insulin is required to reduce blood sugar levels and also necessary to reduce the burning of body fat. An insulin deficiency causes the body to produce higher levels of blood sugar; appearance of ketones in urine, the amount of body fat being burned cannot be controlled and certain acids called ketoacids are found in the blood. The appearance of glucose in the urine along with ketones in urine occurs as the fat breakdown is turning the body acidic. The body tries to reduce the acid levels by breathing fast and deep, but this is not enough to control the acidosis. The discharge of glucose into the urine means large amounts of water and salts are lost which raises the risk of dehydration. Diabetic acidosis can appear in people with Type 1 diabetes. It is not as common in Type 2 diabetes. It is a life threatening condition and hospitalization is essential in order to be treated with fluids and intravenous insulin. If Type 1 diabetes is monitored and controlled correctly, diabetic acidosis can be prevented. If you have a serious infection or disease, e.g. heart attack or stroke which may include vomiting and resistance to the normal dose of injected insulin, ketoacidosis can appear. Given that diabetic acidosis is frequently connected with high blood sugar levels, indications are similar to those for diabetes but are much more serious: increased thirst and the need to urinate, tiredness and confusion. If blood sugar levels become seriously high, possible loss of consciousness (diabetic coma) can occur. Acidosis indicators are fast, deep breathing, nausea, smell of acetone on your breath, vomiting and stomach pains. Diabetic acidosis is usually set off by a urine or chest infection and can develop within a couple of hours or a few days.

If you are suffering from a serious illness it is more than likely you will have to take more insulin, especially if it is an infection or fever, so it is crucial the blood sugar level is measured at this time. Should it be high, take extra insulin but not too much as your risk of a diabetic coma is increased. To prevent diabetic acidosis, monitor your blood sugar levels. Having a glucose monitor in the home can assist with this. Should the blood glucose show high levels check for ketones in urine with testing strips, but as these strips go out of date quickly ketones may not be found. Some blood glucose monitors do check for blood ketones which gives an exact reading. To achieve a complete and correct check for ketones in urine and blood glucose levels it is always best to contact your doctor.

If you have a stomach infection (gastritis) be aware of diabetic acidosis. The symptoms of a stomach infection, e.g. not eating as much, vomiting and nausea may lead you to think you do not require as much insulin and insufficient levels of insulin can lead to diabetic acidosis.

Diabetic acidosis is diagnosed by measuring your blood glucose level and the ketones in urine or blood. If they are found in levels from moderate upwards, this indicates that ketosis is present and acidosis will probably occur. A blood sample will be taken from an artery at a hospital and the acidity in the blood will be accurately measured. The doctor will also be checking if there is an infection.

Diabetic acidosis usually requires hospital treatment and possibly in an intensive care unit. Treatment consists of intravenous salt containing fluids being administered in the first instance followed by glucose fluids. Insulin is given by a separate drip along with potassium and antibiotics if an infection has been identified. If the diagnosis of diabetic acidosis is recognized and treated quickly then recovery is to be expected in a couple of days. If the patient does not receive treatment promptly then it can be fatal. Exercise can help diabetes and some people believe that it will help the symptoms of acidosis. This is untrue; exercise will cause the condition to deteriorate.


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