Acetone is a ketone produced when the body is forced to use body fat as its primary energy source. There is an important connection between diabetes and acetone. In diabetics, the presence of acetone is a sign that insulin is not transporting glucose to the cells. High acetone levels can cause a condition known as ketoacidosis, which occurs when a large amount of acetone accumulates in the blood and is eventually expelled through urination. People who believe they might be suffering from ketoacidosis should contact a physician to ensure that their diabetes and acetone levels are under control, as this condition can lead to serious health problems.
High ketone levels most commonly occur in people who suffer from type 1 diabetes but can also occur in people with type 2 diabetes. Acetone begins to accumulate in the body when a diabetic skips meals, fails to take prescribed medication, or has not administered enough insulin. Due to the connection between diabetics and acetone, physicians often suggest that diabetics regularly test both their ketone and insulin levels. This should help patients understand how their lifestyle and diabetes management routine affects the body.
In addition to understanding the connection between diabetes and acetone, it is also important to know how to recognize the signs of acetone metabolism. One common sign that a person’s diabetes and acetone levels are out of control is the presence of acetone breath. If a diabetic’s breath smells abnormally fruity or sweet, his or her lungs might be producing and releasing acetone.
In the later stages of ketoacidosis, an individual will begin releasing acetone in his or her urine, which is known as acetonuria. This is a sign that the body is being forced to metabolize large amounts of fat in order to produce enough energy to sustain proper functioning. If a person is experiencing acetonuria, his or her urine might have a strong or unusual odor. Other symptoms include thirst, frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, dilated pupils and confusion.
Diabetics who exhibit symptoms of ketoacidosis should test their ketone and blood glucose levels. Low amounts of acetone in the urine or blood can usually be corrected by drinking water, eating a healthy snack, or administering insulin. If acetone levels are high or are accompanied by vomiting, the individual should consult a physician immediately. Severe diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to coma and other health problems, which is why it is so important for diabetics to understand the connection between diabetes and acetone.