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July 10, 2001

Hyperglycemia and DKA

Question from Longs, South Carolina, USA:

Can a person be in acidosis and not have urine ketones? Is acidosis more common in type1 or type 2 diabetes?

Answer:

The only situation I know of where ketones might appear negative would be dipsticks (such as Ketostix) which might be negative in neonatal (newborn) diabetes because babies cannot produce acetone — the substance that makes Ketostix change colour.

DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis] is markedly more common in type 1 diabetes but it can occasionally occur in type 2 diabetes.

KJR

[Editor’s comment: There are other disorders (that have nothing to do with diabetes or DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis]) that can cause what is technically called metabolic acidosis. For example, poisoning with certain acid substances will cause acidosis.

WWQ]