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Difference between Ketosis and Ketoacidosis

The terms ketosis and ketoacidosis do sound similar, but these two terms are different conditions. So, what's the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis?

Apart from similar names, ketosis and ketoacidosis are two different medical conditions. Simply put, ketosis is a normal metabolic process that produces ketone compounds. Meanwhile, ketoacidosis is an advanced level of ketosis condition that causes serious complications.

The Difference Between Ketosis and Ketoacidosis

The following are other differences between ketosis and ketoacidosis that you need to know about:

Ketosis

Ketosis is a normal and harmless metabolic process. This condition occurs when the body lacks carbohydrates to be burned into energy. So instead, the body will burn fat to meet its energy needs. This process of fat metabolism will produce compounds called ketones.




When experiencing ketosis, levels of ketones in the blood and urine will be higher than usual, but not to cause changes in pH or blood acidity.

Ketosis is usually triggered by a low-carb diet, a ketogenic diet, fasting for a long time, and consuming alcohol.

Ketoacidosis

Ketoacidosis refers to the condition of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) which is a serious complication of type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes mellitus. Ketoacidosis can occur quickly and is a serious condition that must be treated immediately. In this condition, an increase in ketone levels is very high. This makes the blood too acidic and interferes with the functioning of organs, such as the liver and kidneys.

Ketoacidosis is commonly triggered by diabetes mellitus accompanied by several other conditions, such as not using insulin properly, infection, or pregnancy. Also, drug abuse and alcoholism can trigger this condition.

Differences in the symptoms of Ketosis and Ketoacidosis

Apart from the causes, ketosis and ketoacidosis can also be distinguished from the symptoms, namely:

Symptoms of ketosis

Some of the symptoms of ketosis that can appear are:

Bad breath

One of the symptoms of ketosis is the appearance of a typical bad breath. This happens because of the production of ketone and acetone compounds during fat metabolism. Acetone released from the body when urinating and breathing is what will give rise to a characteristic odor.

Get tired quickly

When in ketosis, your body will quickly feel tired. This condition is common due to the loss of carbohydrates as an energy source.

Indigestion

Another symptom that can appear when the body is in a state of ketosis is the onset of digestive problems, such as constipation or diarrhea.

Symptoms of ketoacidosis

While the symptoms that can occur in people with ketoacidosis are:

  • Frequent urination
  • Feel very thirsty
  • Stomach ache
  • The skin becomes dry
  • Hard to breathe
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confused
  • Loss of concentration
  • Dehydration

How are ketosis and ketoacidosis diagnosed?

Although ketosis and ketoacidosis are different, generally the way to diagnose the two conditions is quite similar. You can do a simple blood test to detect the level of ketones in your blood.

This test can be done to determine whether you have ketosis or ketoacidosis. Urine tests can also be done at home by placing a dipstick in your urine sample. The dipstick will change color based on the level of ketones in your urine.

Maybe the condition of ketosis is not as severe as the condition of ketoacidosis. That is why diabetics need to be vigilant because of the higher risk of ketoacidosis when ketone levels rise and blood sugar is above 250 mg / dL. You should do a blood ketone test to confirm this.

When your blood sugar is higher than 240 mg / dL, The American Diabetes Association recommends checking ketones every 4-6 hours. You can monitor blood sugar and ketones with test kits available on the market.

Treatment of ketosis and ketoacidosis

Because there is an emergency difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis, the treatment is different. Patients with ketosis may not need intensive care.

Meanwhile, ketoacidosis might make you need to be rushed to the emergency room or undergoing hospital treatment if it is a complication of diabetes.

Ketoacidosis treatment usually involves:

  • Fluid through the mouth or a vein
  • Replacement of electrolytes, such as chloride, sodium or potassium
  • Intravenous insulin until your blood sugar level is below 240 mg / dL

The condition of ketoacidosis in people with diabetes will generally improve within 48 hours. To prevent this, your doctor may review your diet and treatment plan.

Overall, the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis is evident from the causes and symptoms caused. So, don't make a distinction between the two. If you want to get more information about these two conditions, don't hesitate to ask your doctor.





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