Causes Of Diabetic Coma: Symptoms And Remedies For Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoaidosis is one of the grave complications of diabetes. It is sometimes a life threatening condition. The condition arises in a diabetic patient when sugar is not burnt at usual rate. As a result there is persistent build up of sugar in the blood when too much food or too little insulin or medication is taken or there is less than usual physical activity.

Physical stress such as an infection or psychological stress may also be a precipitating cause. In simple words patient having prolonged uncontrolled diabetes is at a risk of suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis.

Diabetic acidosis has a gradual onset over a period of days. If the condition is not attended promptly, it can lead to coma and sometimes even death.

Let us understand how the situation develops. Due to lack of insulin production or intake, the cells cannot absorb glucose as an energy source. At this point, as an emergency measure the body breaks down fats for its fuel requirement. In the process it produces acidic waste known as ketones. Constant built of ketones disturbs the acid-base balance of the body resulting in severe acidosis.

This is the time when ketoacidosis sets in.

When left untreated, the condition can affect heart and brain function leading to loss of consciousness and death. It usually occurs in type-1 insulin dependent diabetes. The risk of Keto-acidosis is fifty percent higher among women.

Symptoms Of Diabetic Coma Or Ketoacidosis

The onset of ketoacidosis is slow. It gives ample time for a diabetic patient and the physician to recognize the symptoms. One of the commonest symptoms is frequent urination and great thirst. Increased frequency of urination causes dehydration, which increases acidity in the blood caused by acid ketones. Other symptoms include;

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Blurred vision
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dry skin and tongue
  • The breath has odor of acetone, a sweet fruity smell. The smell is similar to acetone that is used as finger nail polish remover.
  • Pulse is weak and rapid.
  • Patient becomes disoriented and drowsy and appears to be confused.
  • His breathing is deep and rapid.
  • Presence of ketones in urine.

Natural Remedies And Diet For Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Since diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to coma and death, it requires immediate medical help. The first line of treatment is that patient is injected necessary dose of insulin and intravenous fluids as recommended by the attending physician. Administration of intravenous fluids helps to counteract dehydration. During this period, patient can also take certain home measures especially dietary measures such as;

  • Eating alkaline foods to hasten recovery and neutralize acidosis.
  • Citrus fruits and fruit juices have alkalizing value due to the percentage of alkaline salts especially potash present in them.
  • Since potassium gets depleted during ketoacidosis, patient should eat more of potassium containing foods.
  • Gradually, maintain proper ratio between acidic and alkaline foods in the diet.
  • All flesh foods and all kinds of cereals are acid forming foods, which reduces alkalinity of the blood. They should be avoided or restricted during the treatment period.
  • Most fruits, all green and root vegetables and legumes are high alkaline foods and reduce the acid reserves of blood tissues. Thereby our daily diet should include lots of alkaline forming foods and little acid forming foods.

For prevention of diabetic ketoacidosis and coma, diabetics should take proper dosage of insulin regularly. They should often monitor their blood glucose level. They should avoid eating sprees and must watch for conditions where the requirement of insulin becomes more such as in colds, infections, dental extractions, surgery etc.