Alcoholic Ketoacidosis: How Does It Happen?

Alcoholic Ketoacidosis can be acquired through alcohol use and starvation. It is characterized by an excess acid in the bloodstream, which often leads symptoms like vomiting and abdominal pain.

  • If you ingest something that is metabolized or turned into acid, this will lead to ketoacidosis.
  • Alcoholic Ketoacidosis and malnutrition occur due to excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Abdominal pain, fatigue, vomiting, and dehydration are the common symptoms of alcoholic ketoacidosis.

Binge alcohol drinking often leads to repetitive vomiting, often causing a person to lose appetite.

The stored normal sugars or glucose in the liver may decrease if vomiting and starvation go on for days. Low stored normal sugars accompanied by starvation will lead to low blood glucose levels and soon a decrease in insulin secretion. The cells will have a hard time getting energy from the glucose that is in the blood.

Due to insufficient energy, the cells will switch to a backup mechanism to obtain energy; hence, create ketones. With the production of ketones that provide energy to the cells, it can make the blood too acidic (ketoacidosis). Ketoacidosis may also co-occur with diabetes except that in alcoholic ketoacidosis, the blood glucose levels are low.

Glucose (sugar) and insulin are needed by cells to function well.

The source of glucose is from the food you eat, whereas pancreas produces insulin. The production of insulin may be interrupted for a short period of time when you drink alcohol and the glucose in your body will not be consumed if insulin is not present. In no time, the body will start to burn fat as an alternative source of energy.

The ketone bodies are produced when fats are burned as a source of energy for cells. This byproduct will begin to build in your bloodstream if insulin is not produced in the body. Medically, it can be life-threatening and may lead to ketoacidosis.

Drinking excessive amount of alcohol regularly may lead to the development of alcoholic ketoacidosis and malnutrition.

People may not eat properly when they drink alcohol and may lead them to vomit. The body’s insulin production will be interrupted if starvation and vomiting are frequent. Alcoholic ketoacidosis may also develop if the person is already malnourished because of alcoholism. By binge drinking, the disease can be developed depending on their nutritional status and amount of alcohol consumed.

Alcoholic ketoacidosis is usually treated by bringing the patient into the emergency room to check the patient’s vital signs- heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing.

To help treat malnutrition, fluids will be administered through the patient’s veins and supplementation of vitamins and nutrients such as Thiamine, Potassium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium.

You will be also admitted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) if your doctor recommends for an ongoing care. Like all other medical issues, the severity of your alcoholic ketoacidosis will determine the length of your stay in the hospital. Your hospital stay also depends on how long will your body responds to treatment. Additional complications in your body, however, may lengthen your hospital stay.

Fel

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