Diabetic ketoacidosis is a complication concerning diabetes.

It starts off with the lack of the hormone insulin been produced by the pancreas.  Insulin’s function is to act as a bridge which allows glucose to diffuse into the cell. The insulin will bind to the receptor and allow the glucose to go into the cell.

Now the glucose is in the cytoplasm it will undergo glycolysis and then it will enter into the matrix of the mitochondria where the kreb cycle will occur which produces ATP which is then hydrolysed to produce energy. This is the function of how glucose can be used for energy in the body in a normal person.

Now in diabetic ketoacidosis the pancreas cease to produce insulin and therefore the glucose will not be allowed to enter the cell. If there is no glucose entering the cell there is no energy been produced. However the cell still has fats that it can break down in the cell for cellular respiration in matrix of the mitochondria. This provides the body with energy however the products are also ketone bodies.


The ketone bodies can cause metabolic acidosis.  One ketone body is called acetone. When a patient is in DKA they may present with a fruity breath. This is due to the acetone in there blood.

Another interesting thing is that drinking alcohol can temporairy cause the pancreas to produce insulin and therefore cause the same process to occur. This is called Alcoholic ketoacidosis.


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