Ketosis symptoms are associated with high levels of ketone bodies in the blood, produced by a process called ketogenesis. Starvation ketosis is a symptom of any form of prolonged fasting, such as anorexia nervosa.
Carbohydrates are necessary in order to replace the glycogen stores in our bodies.
However, if there is no intake of carbs as a result of diet, starvation, or during excessive exercise, then these glycogen stores become depleted.
Once this happens, ketosis symptoms begin to manifest when our body gets its energy by breaking down fat stores.
This includes a series of stages, one of which is called fat metabolism. It takes place in the liver where its byproduct is a group of fatty acids known as ketone bodies.
Ketones are toxic, poisonous chemicals such as acetone. The build-up of acetone in the body will affect the urine, and eventually cause damage to the liver and kidneys.
All of these are signs of ketosis, and it could escalate into something quite serious. Besides starvation (anorexia nervosa), some other common causes of ketosis are -- Type 1 Diabetes, a ketosis diet, and alcoholism.
There are some "ketosis diets" on the market that deliberately induce a state of ketosis. This is very tempting for people with anorexia, given the fact that the process burns fat quickly, and usually results in weight loss. Anorexics may view it as one of those "fad diets", when in reality, it can have medicinal purposes.
There is some controversy as to whether or not prolonged use of these kinds of dietary measures is considered dangerous. This will probably depend on your overall state of health at the onset of the diet, or even halfway through.
In the case of anorexia nervosa, diabetes, or for someone who is clearly underweight, it's doubtful that it would ever be recommended.
You should consult with your physician to discuss your options before beginning any such weight loss methods.
A ketogenic diet is sometimes used in treatment for epilepsy. A high-fat, low-carb diet is often prescribed in order to help control seizures.
One of the more noticeable ketosis symptoms is the onset of bad breath. Remember how ketosis causes a build-up of acetone in the blood? Well, your body will try to get rid of excess amounts of acetone through the lungs.
As you exhale, you're left with an odd, "fruity" smell, that can resemble the smell of alcohol.
Other symptoms of ketosis that are seen quite regularly are:
Treatment for ketosis includes adding a sufficient amount of carbohydrates back into your diet. Foods high in protein will help alleviate some of the symptoms, such as headache or dizziness.
Small snacks every couple of hours throughout the day can help to treat ketosis. Also be sure to drink plenty of water in order to dilute and flush away the ketones in your system.
Another medical complication of anorexia nervosa is Vitamin B12 deficiency, which can also be detected through blood work.
Read more about Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.
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