Diabetes and ketones

The presence of a ketone level in the bloodstream is a common complication of diabetes. If nothing is done with this, it can eventually lead to ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis is acidification of your blood. Ketones build up when there is insufficient insulin to be able to fuel the cells of the body.

Having a high ketone value is therefore more common in people with type 1 diabetes or people with advanced
type 2 diabetes. The body is going to use other energy sources. These are fats that are stored in your body. Ketones are released during the burning of fats. Ketones acidify the blood.

What are ketones?

Ketones are a type of acid that remains when the body burns its own fat. If the body does not have enough insulin, it cannot get glucose from the blood into the cells of the body to use as energy and it will instead start burning fat. The liver converts fatty acids into ketones which are then released into the bloodstream for use as energy.

It is normal to have low ketone levels in your blood, since ketones are produced when the body fat is burned. In people who are dependent on insulin, such as people with type 1 diabetes, a high ketone level in the blood can result from taking too little insulin and this can lead to ketoacidosis.

How do I recognize ketoacidosis and what can I do about it?

The following symptoms may indicate ketoacidosis

  • You are thirsty and you have to pee a lot.
  • You have a headache and are tired or sleepy.
  • You have a dry tongue and skin.
    You have stomach ache and muscle aches.
  • You are nauseous and / or have to vomit.
  • Your body dries out (due to a lot of peeing and vomiting).
  • You have a quick breath and a sweet-smelling breath (acetone odor).
  • You have dilated pupils and blurred vision.
  • Children can suddenly go to bedwetting, suffer from abdominal pain or howling.

Ketoacidosis is a dangerous situation. Respond immediately to ketoacidosis and do not wait.

Our advice:

  • Contact your practitioner. Certainly if you have to vomit.
  • Check your blood glucose levels very regularly.
  • Check ketones.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Administer extra insulin (in consultation with your docter). Insulin ensures that glucose is absorbed into the body’s cells and thus eliminates acidification.
  • Never stop giving insulin, even if you do not eat or eat little!
  • Eat small amounts regularly. This gives your body cells glucose and they can switch from burning fat to burning glucose again.
  • Do not practice sport or exercise physically.

How can I measure my glucose and ketone levels?

You can simply test the ketone levels at home! With the On Call GK Dual you can measure your glucose and ketone levels within 10 seconds! It even gives a Hypo, Hyper and Ketone alarm so that you are always on time. And all this just at your home! Click for more information about this fantastic meter!

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