Your Breath Smells Like Nail Polish Remover

What it might mean: Possible symptom of diabetes

Over 80 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Disturbingly, almost one-third of Americans living with diabetes are unaware they have it.

The sudden warning sign of breath smelling like nail polish remover occurs when your body is unable to utilize sugar properly and burns fat for fuel instead. The chemical compounds released during this process are known as ketones. One ketone, acetone (a key ingredient in nail polish remover), produces the telltale diabetes clue of fruity-smelling breath.

You may also experience a fruity taste in your mouth that persists even after you've brushed your teeth. Referred to medically as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), this symptom can result in a diabetic coma if left untreated.

Additional warning signs of diabetes include:
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent thirst and urination
  • Craving sweets

    If you experience acetone-scented breath or any other warning signs linked to diabetes, schedule an appointment with your physician. You'll likely be asked to fast for at least 8 hours beforehand so the doctor can check your blood sugar level via a simple blood test. Bear in mind, a healthy fasting blood sugar level is between 70 and 100mg/dl; a reading over 200mg/dl may signal diabetes.

    While type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin injection therapy, type 2 diabetes treatment often includes lifestyle changes such as new diet and exercise regimens.

    To protect yourself against type 2 diabetes:
  • Maintain a healthy weight. A healthy female Body Mass Index (BMI) should be less than 35. (Use this tool to measure your body mass index.)
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes fiber from whole grains, lean protein, and plenty fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods loaded with sugar and trans fats.
  • Exercise regularly. Get at least 20 minutes of cardio three times a week by brisk walking, biking, or using an elliptical trainer.

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