What is diabetic ketoacidosis?
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when there is not enough insulin in the blood. Insulin is important because it helps the body regulate and utilize the sugar in the blood.
When the body lacks insulin, it can’t properly utilize sugar as a source of energy. Because of this, the body starts breaking down fat stores in an attempt to use it as fuel.
This job is done by the liver, which breaks down the fat rapidly in order for it to be utilized as energy. This broken down fat is turned into a fuel called ketones that are normally used by the muscles and the heart.
But for someone suffering from ketoacidosis, the liver breaks down the fat too quickly, and produces more ketones than the body can use. This causes the ketones to build up in the blood, and cause it to become acidic. This is what ketoacidosis is.
For a person who does not know that they are diabetic, this can be life-threatening, because they might not even be aware of what’s happening inside their body.
For diabetics, this is just as dangerous, which is why it is important for diabetics to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels.
What can trigger diabetic ketoacidosis?
When it comes to the question of what can trigger diabetic ketoacidosis, there are 2 main triggers:
Illness or Infection
First is that an illness or infection could cause the body to produce certain hormones. These hormones can sometimes counteract the effect of insulin, which triggers ketoacidosis. The most common types of infection that can cause this are urinary tract infections or UTI, or pneumonia.
The other trigger is that a diabetic could miss their dose of insulin, or not take enough insulin. This makes it hard for the body to process sugars, and can thus trigger ketoacidosis.
There are other possible things that can trigger diabetic ketoacidosis, such as the following:
Diabetic ketoacidosis is also more common for people suffering from type 1 diabetes.
In addition, people who are unable to take insulin doses regularly, or constantly miss their doses, are more prone to having ketoacidosis.