Ketosis FAQs / What is ketoacidosis?
Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition that must be immediately addressed. Not to be confused with ketosis.
Two out of three types of ketone bodies are acidic, and, if levels of these ketone bodies are too high, the pH of the blood drops, resulting in ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis is known to occur in untreated type I diabetes (diabetic ketoacidosis): when a type 1 diabetic suffers a biological stress event (sepsis, heart attack, infection) or fails to administer enough insulin they may suffer the pathological condition ketoacidosis. Liver cells increase metabolism of fatty acids into ketones and glucose via glycogenolysis in an attempt to supply energy to peripheral cells which are unable to transport glucose in the absence of insulin. The resulting very high levels of blood glucose and ketone bodies lower the pH of the blood and trigger the kidneys to attempt to excrete the glucose and ketones. Osmotic diuresis of glucose will cause further removal of water and electrolytes from the blood resulting in potentially fatal dehydration, tachycardia and hypotension.
Ketoacidosis is also known to occur in alcoholics after prolonged binge-drinking without intake of sufficient carbohydrates (alcoholic ketoacidosis).
Less commonly, some patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes may have detectable levels of plasma ketones without significant acidosis.
Individuals who follow a low-carbohydrate diet, will develop ketosis, sometimes called nutritional ketosis, but the level of ketone body concentrations are on the order of 0.5-5 mM whereas the pathological ketoacidosis is 15-25 mM.
Posted in: Understanding Ketosis