When the body goes a long time with low levels of insulin, it can result in higher than normal levels of ketones in the bloodstream. Insulin helps regulate the levels of glucose in the blood. Without insulin to help break down the sugars, it starts using fat cells as an alternative.
Breaking down fat cells may seem like a great idea and ketoacidosis is a major component in low carbohydrate diets because it ramps up the metabolic system. For Type 1 diabetics, ketoacidosis can be a major problem and lead t severe illness and death.
Ketoacidosis is often the first sign of Type 1 diabetes in those undiagnosed. Signs of the problem include rapid breathing, dry skin and mouth, flushed face, fruity breath, nausea, vomiting, stomach and abdominal pain, decreased appetite, fatigue, dulled senses, thirst and headache. If gone untreated, you can slip into a coma and eventually die.
The good news is that once a diagnosis is found, the treatment is to simply increase the levels of insulin. With the insulin in balance, the body stops using fat cells and returns to breaking down the glucose. With treatment, the prognosis is good for a fill recovery depending on how bag the ketoacidosis is.