How To Identify Symptoms of High Ketones

Feeling those fainting spells again? Too many ketones in your bloodstream is a clear indication that you have diabetes. Leaving it untreated will result in a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This condition can be the initial phase for people unaware that they have diabetes. Individuals with diabetes should know how to recognize and treat ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is the build up of high acidity levels in your blood.

Ketones are acids produced by the body whenever it converts fat into energy. In times of heavy strenuous activity and low food intake or when the body cannot use carbohydrates for its energy requirements, the muscle cells tend to grow weaker and the body has carry out certain breakdown processes to ensure the continuous supply of energy.  The stored fat in the body are converted into energy. This conversion generates acids known as ketones. However if your body is breaking down fats instead of carbohydrates, you might be suffering from diabetes or you are simply in starvation mode.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) must be given due attention and proper treatment. To combat the effects of worsening ketoacidosis, here are some symptoms that can help you identify the condition and take necessary treatments.


The initial symptoms include insatiable thirst, recurrent urination, unusually high blood glucose, drowsiness and dry mouth. Since these symptoms are similar to other conditions such as flu, appropriate treatment might not be immediately applied, if not diagnosed immediately.

If the level of ketones in your blood grows, you will have stomach pains, blurry eyesight, nausea and/or vomiting, breathlessness, loss of appetite, stress, sunken eyeballs, low blood pressure, extreme weakness and a breath that has a fruity odor. If one or more symptoms are present, do not hesitate to call your doctor right away. Remember that once a disease is treated sooner, the lesser suffering the patient goes through.

Regardless of the surge of glucose in the blood, the minimal supply of insulin hinders the cells to integrate glucose. The deprivation of glucose to the brain tissues, compounded with other complications, directly affect consciousness. In the initial phases, the individual is confused and this may lead to delirium. A severe condition of loss of conscious known as ketacidotic coma is likely to occur.

Detection and Treatment

Presence of these symptoms or if your blood glucose is beyond 250 mg/dL for a long period of time, do a reading on your ketone level. It is highly recommended to check your ketone level by purchasing a test kit from a local pharmacy and perform the test at home. Ketones travel from blood into the urine and can be detected in the urine using these test kits. If your urine and breath smell unusually sweet, ketones are likely to be present. However, treatment of ketoacidotic coma involves hospitalization. Intravenous fluid is injected and the patient's glucose and electrolytes levels are closely monitored. Administration of insulin is regular as slow consistent infusion into the blood stream to slowly lower the sugar level.

The patient usually recovers from DKA, with proper treatment, in one to two days.


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