Alcoholic ketoacidosis is the build up of ketones in the blood. Ketones are a type of acid that form when the body breaks down fat for energy.
The condition is an acute form of metabolic acidosis.
Alternative NamesKetoacidosis - alcoholic
Alcoholic ketoacidosis is caused by alcohol use, usually excessive.
- Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
- Breathing difficulty leading, when untreated, to an abnormal breathing pattern
- Irregular deep, rapid breathing (Kussmaul's sign)
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Symptoms of dehydration, such as dizziness and light-headedness
- Changes in mental activity leading to loss of consciousness
Exams and Tests
- Urine ketones
- Blood chemistries, such as CHEM-20
- Tests to check blood alcohol level
Treatment may involve fluids given through a vein. You may need to have your blood taken frequently.
Some people with this condition need to stay in the intensive care unit of a hospital.
Prompt medical attention improves the overall outlook.
This can be a life-threatening disorder.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
If you or someone else has symptoms of alcoholic ketoacidosis, seek emergency medical help.
Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink may help prevent this condition.