Medical Definition of Ketoacidosis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ketoacidosis: A feature of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus characterized by a combination of ketosis and acidosis. Ketosis is the accumulation of substances called keytones and ketone bodies in the blood. Acidosis is increased acidity of the blood.

Symptoms of ketoacidosis include slow, deep breathing with a fruity odor to the breath; confusion; frequent urination (polyuria); poor appetite; and eventually loss of consciousness.

The treatment of ketoacidosis is a matter of urgency and is usually done in a hospital. It may require the administration of intravenous fluids, insulin, and glucose, and the institution of changes in the person's diet.

See also diabetes mellitus and ketone bodies.

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Reviewed on 12/12/2018

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