What is alcoholic ketoacidosis?
Alcoholic ketoacidosis is a problem caused by drinking a lot of alcohol without eating food. It can happen to people who binge-drink alcohol.
What causes alcoholic ketoacidosis?
If you drink a large amount of alcohol, get sick to your stomach, throw up, and can't eat or drink for a day or more:
Your blood sugar (glucose) levels drop
Your body makes less insulin to help your cells use blood sugar for energy
Your cells start burning fat for energy instead
Broken down fat goes to the liver and is made into ketones (acids)
The acid level in your blood goes up
What are the symptoms of alcoholic ketoacidosis?
Feeling sick to your stomach
Deep, fast breathing
How can doctors tell if I have alcoholic ketoacidosis?
Doctors suspect alcoholic ketoacidosis from your symptoms and your alcohol use. To know for sure, doctors will do:
Blood and urine tests
How do doctors treat alcoholic ketoacidosis?
Doctors treat alcoholic ketoacidosis with:
Thiamin (a type of B vitamin), given by vein (IV)
IV fluids (containing glucose if the blood sugar is low) and electrolytes Overview of Electrolytes Electrolytes are minerals that circulate in your blood. These minerals are also in your stomach juices, in your stool (poop), in your urine, and inside your body's tissues. Salt (sodium) is... read more (minerals, such as sodium and potassium, that help with many important body functions)
Insulin only if your blood sugar goes too high with treatment