The difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis

Analyzing the differences between ketosis and ketoacidosis, we must keep in mind that they are two completely different concepts. If you are interested in knowing their peculiarities, don’t miss this article. Indeed, it is very easy to confuse these two terms, often mistakenly used as synonyms. This confusion may be due to the fact that both are metabolic processes that involve the distribution of fat in the human body.

To be able to clarify, once and for all, based on what it is possible to distinguish ketosis and ketoacidosis, it is necessary to proceed with the order. In the following, we will explain first of all what they are and how they intervene in the metabolic processes of the body. Moreover, we will see their relationship with food and diabetes first of all to underline their main peculiarities.

Ketosis and ketoacidosis: let’s clarify what they are

What is ketosis?

Ketosis is a normal metabolic process produced by a high concentration of ketones in the blood (they are also called acetones ). This phenomenon occurs when the body has exhausted its stock of stored glycogen and starts using and burning fat tissue to produce energy.

Sugar insufficiency, derived from a situation of minimal carbohydrate intake or fasting, generates this immediate physiological response. The liver will have to produce more glucose and therefore, therefore, the levels of ketones entering the bloodstream will increase.

The relationship between ketosis and diets

The benefits you have just seen are the reason why ketosis is the basis of many diets. These nutritional plans reduce or eliminate carbohydrate consumption. Most of these food routines, not surprisingly, are among the main methods to lose weight.

During ketosis, the body uses ketones instead of glucose to give cells what it needs to produce energy. The immediate consequence is weight loss, but this leads to the undesired effect: another presence of acetones in the blood.

However, it must be remembered that the human body naturally has low levels of ketones in the blood. A limited quantity that does not present any damage to health.

We discover ketoacidosis

Ketoacidosis is a pathological condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are high. The body cannot properly metabolize the amounts of sugar due to the absence of insulin.

In the presence of a huge increase in ketones in the blood, severe abdominal pain and a severe level of dehydration may appear. When faced with symptoms of this type, it is essential to go to the emergency room immediately.

Unlike ketosis, in ketoacidosis ketones are not expelled sufficiently fast and there is a risk that the blood radically increases its level of acidity. This sensitive change of state can cause significant damage to the internal organs of the body.

As you can see, this condition is a serious condition that requires emergency treatment. Ketoacidosis, in fact, if not treated properly, is potentially fatal. An alarm signal is the fruity or acetone smell that can be noticed in the patient’s breath.

What is diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)

Diabetic ketoacidosis (also called DKA) commonly occurs in patients with type 1 diabetes or in those with type 2 in the final phase, when their pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin. Diabetics should avoid intake of fasting carbohydrates and in excessive amounts.

Among the triggers of ketoacidosis development, diseases whose symptoms present high fever, vomiting and diarrhea should be mentioned.

Other causes of ketoacidosis can be stress, physical or emotional trauma, such as a heart attack. Abuse in the use of alcohol and drugs can also favor the appearance of this condition.

There are symptoms that should warn about the risks of ketoacidosis: excessive thirst, frequent urination, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, weakness or tiredness, mental confusion and breath with a strong smell of acetone.

The fundamental difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis

The ketones that enter the bloodstream in a normal situation are eliminated through urine, sweat, and breath. The way the body performs these processes is the main difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis.

  • In ketosis, the process of eliminating ketone bodies is natural and continuous. This physiological process prevents the concentration of ketones in the blood.
  • In the case of ketoacidosis, since the body can no longer metabolize the ketones properly, due to insufficient insulin production, the ketone levels will reach alarm values, causing damage to the internal organs and, in the most serious cases, causing the death of the patient.

More information on ketosis and ketoacidosis

Ketosis, which is the consequence of diets free of carbohydrates, often has side effects that are easy to detect: breath with a strong odor of acetone, constant sensation of dizziness and the presence of severe headaches.

Another important danger that can be favored by ketosis is the appearance of osteoporosis, due to the lack of calcium. A picture that could also compromise the health of people affected by kidney failure.

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