Diabetic & Alcoholic Ketoacidosis

Whether you are headed to the beach this holiday for a final summer party or if you’re planning a leisurely weekend at home Labor Day will hopefully be filled with good food, good friends, accompanied by good times. As many holidays bring families together you may be spritzing up cocktails, often times when you drink alcohol your pancreas may stop producing insulin for a short time. Cells need glucose (sugar) and insulin to function properly. Glucose comes from the food you eat, and insulin is produced by the pancreas.

In addition to general ketoacidosis, there are several specific types. These types include:

  • Alcoholic ketoacidosis: Excessive consumption of alcohol diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) mostly develops in people with Type 1 Diabetes.
  • Starvation ketoacidosis: Often found in women who are pregnant, around the third trimester. They will also experience excessive vomiting.

Each of these situations increases the amount of acid in the system. They can also reduce the amount of insulin your body produces, leading to the breakdown of fat cells and the production of ketones.

Untreated Type 1 DM 

  • As it continues insulin deficit caused fat stores to help break down, providing energy. This ultimately results in continued hyperglycemia and mobilization of fatty acids with a subsequent ketosis.
  • Stress can initiate release of gluconeogenic hormones, which is a form of carbs from protein or fat.
  • As Glucose production from the liver increases note that fat mobilization increases, and ketogenesis is stimulated. Peripheral glucose use will decrease.
  • Increased release of free fatty acids happens when an over-production of ketone bodies (acetocetic acids) and beta-hydroxybutyrate, metabolic acidosis occurs which is called DKA.  Which will lead to depression, coma and death if left untreated.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus. Signs and symptoms may include weakness, vomiting, deep gasping breathing, increased urination, abdominal pain, and occasionally loss of consciousness.

Your doctor will perform a hemoglobin A1C (HgA1C) test if your blood glucose level is elevated. This test will provide information about your sugar levels to help determine whether you have diabetes. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.

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