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Alcoholic Ketoacidosis


This disorder is a complication of excessive alcohol consumption. It is most often seen in a malnourished person who drinks large amounts of alcohol every day. An excess amount of ketone bodies are present in the blood. This can develop into a life-threatening disorder. Patients with alcoholic ketoacidosis often have or develop gastrointestinal bleeding, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), and pneumonia.

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Very high level of alcohol consumption along with poor dietary habits can cause Alcoholic Ketoacidosis.

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Signs & Symptoms

The person with this disorder may experience fatigue, slow, sluggish, lethargic movement and headaches. He may have difficulty in breathing - an abnormal breathing pattern with irregular, deep and rapid breathing (Kussmaul's). He experiences a loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, pain in abdomen and muscles. Other symptoms seen in alcoholosim are loss of consciousness, confusion, agitation, fluctuating mood levels, difficulty in paying attention and sometimes hallucinations. 

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Limiting alcohol consumption to moderate levels can, to some extent, prevent the disorder from occuring.

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Intake of Fluids and Intensive Care Modern Medicine

Treatment may involve fluids (salt and sugar solution) given through a vein. The patient may need to take blood frequently.

People with this condition are admitted to the hospital, often to the intensive care unit (ICU). It mainly involves the reversal of acidosis.

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