If you have Ketones, don’t exercise

If you have Ketones, don’t exercise

It’s very important to frequently check your glucose levels every day, to make sure they’re well controlled. When you’re about to exercise, it’s even more important to check your blood glucose levels before, during, and after exercising; that way you’ll avoid any Diabetes-related emergencies, which are: Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, Hyperglycemia or elevated blood glucose levels, and Ketoacidosis or presence of ketones in the blood.

When we eat, the foods are metabolized in the intestine and transformed into glucose and other nutrients, which pass to our bloodstream where glucose is used by the cells as a source of energy or fuel, thanks to the insulin action which allows glucose to enter into cells. Some of the glucose we eat is stored as reserves in the liver and muscles as glycogen, so it can be used as a fuel source when the cells need it.

On the other hand, the fat contained in the food we eat is digested in the stomach and transformed into fatty acids, which enter the bloodstream to be used as nutrients by both organs and tissues.

Insulin is like a key that opens the door to the cells, so that glucose can enter and be used as a fuel or energy source.

What happens when the cells don’t have enough insulin?

If there is no insulin to open the cell doors so that glucose could enter, they can’t use glucose as a fuel source.

Furthermore, in the absence of insulin, glucose levels will increase in the bloodstream.

How are ketones created in the body?

When cells can’t use glucose as a fuel source due to a lack of insulin, they’re forced to steal energy from fat. The waste products of this process are poisonous substances called Ketones, or Ketone Bodies.

When glucose levels in the blood reach 240 mg/dl (13.4 mmol/l) or more, and the body doesn’t have the insulin to allow glucose to be used as fuel by the cells, they’ll have to use fats as a fuel source. During this process a waste product of venomous substances called Ketones or Ketone Bodies is expelled; so if you have values of 240 mg/dl (13.4 mmol/l) or more, you’ll need to get a urine ketone test or a blood ketone test. The presence of Ketones or Ketone Bodies is facilitated when you have an infection, fever, or the flu, as this stresses the body, stimulating the adrenal glands to segregate a greater amount of a hormone called Cortisol, which among other things further increases glycemia levels.

When you have an infection, cold, or flu, it’s very important to frequently check your blood sugar and ketone levels, to make sure everything is fine, and if it isn’t, to take the necessary corrective measures as soon as possible.

If you have Ketones, don’t exercise.


Why can’t we exercise when we have Ketones in our blood?

If you have Ketones in your blood (Ketonemia), or urine (Ketonuria), you shouldn’t exercise, as this might increase glucose and Ketone levels in the blood and lead to a dangerous condition called “Diabetic Ketoacidosis”.

Let’s remember that when the body doesn’t have insulin to open the cells’ doors to allow glucose in to be used as fuel, cells are forced to steal energy from fat as a fuel source, producing Ketones in the blood. When we exercise, our cells require larger amounts of energy, so if fats sources are used as cell fuel, when we exercise, we’ll be using more fat and therefore our blood Ketone levels will rise.

Furthermore, when you exercise you use glycogen (glucose reserve in the muscles) as the primary fuel source, but if there’s no insulin, this glucose won’t be able to enter the cells and will accumulate in the bloodstream, increasing your blood sugar levels even more.

Under normal conditions, when people exercise their blood sugar levels drop because the cells need more energy, and insulin allows glucose to be used by the cells as a fuel source.

If you have Ketones in your blood, it’s important to call your doctor or visit an emergency room immediately, where the doctor and nurses can solve your problem within a few hours, eliminating the presence of Ketones, keeping you hydrated, and stabilizing your glucose levels.

At Diabetes Up to Date we work to help you prevent, or treat on time, any problems that may arise, so that you can control your blood glucose levels properly, and be able to enjoy a healthy, productive and happy life.

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Exercise and Diabetes