Health Tip: What's Ketoacidosis?

-- Hyperglycemia, the medical name for high blood sugar, affects just about every person with diabetes at one time or another, the American Diabetes Association says.

Left untreated, hyperglycemia can trigger a condition called ketoacidosis, sometimes called diabetic coma. This occurs when there isn't enough insulin for the body to process blood sugar, so it begins to process fats for fuel instead.

That's when toxic waste products called ketones are produced. When the body can't expel ketones fast enough through the urine, they start to build up, possibly leading to ketoacidosis.

This condition needs immediate treatment. Symptoms include difficulty catching your breath, fruity scent to the breath, vomiting, nausea and dry mouth.

Exercise can help reduce blood sugar and prevent ketoacidosis. But if your blood sugar rises above 240 mg/dl, you should check your urine for ketones. If you detect ketones, do not exercise and seek immediate medical attention, the ADA warns.

Posted: June 2009


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