Alcoholic ketoacidosis is the buildup 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
Ketoacidosis – alcoholic
Alcoholic ketoacidosis is caused by excessive alcohol use. It is most often seen in a
- Abdominal pain
- Changed level of alertness, which may lead to coma
- Slow, sluggish,
- Irregular deep,
rapid breathing(Kussmaul’s sign)
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Symptoms of
dehydration, such as dizziness, light-headedness, and thirst
Exams and Tests
- Arterial blood gases (measure the acid/base balance and oxygen level in blood)
- Blood alcohol level
- Blood chemistries, and liver function tests, such as
- CBC (complete blood count, measures red and whilte blood cells, and platelets, which help blood to clot)
- Prothrombin time (PT, a different measure of blood clotting, often abnormal from liver disease)
- Toxicology (poison) screening
Treatment may involve fluids (salt and sugar solution) given through a vein. You may need to have your blood taken often. You may get vitamin supplements to treat nutritional deficiencies caused by excess alcohol use.
People with this condition are admitted to the hospital, often to the intensive care unit (ICU). Additional medications may be given to prevent alcohol withdrawal.
Prompt medical attention improves the overall outlook. How severe the alcoholism is, and the presence of liver disease or other complications also affect the outlook.
This can be a life-threatening disorder. Complications can include:
- Coma and seizures
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
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.