How and Why of the Ketones Test

You must know that glucose is considered to be the first source of energy in our body. Ketones are made when your body converts fat into energy. This happens when your body doesn’t have enough insulin to convert sugar into energy. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up the bloodstream and cannot enter cells. Because of this, ketones work in your body to burn fat instead of glucose. Ketones get absorbed into your blood and eventually, they are found in your urine. So let’s know what are ketones and their tests, and how they are done.

Why is a ketone test important to me?

The ketone test measures the level of ketones in your urine. High levels of blood or urine ketones in your body can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis can be a life-threatening condition that can lead to seizures, coma, or death. The problem of diabetic ketoacidosis occurs mostly in people affected by type 1 diabetes. But, it can also happen to people with type 2 diabetes and people suffering from gestational diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis can be prevented by early treatment of high levels of ketones in the blood or urine. Ketone in urine tests can help treat your medical emergency before it happens.

Why is a ketone test done?

Ketone testing is done if you have type 1 diabetes.

  • Blood sugar is more than 240 mg/dL.
  • If you have a disease such as pneumonia, heart attack, or stroke.
  • If there is nausea or vomiting.
  • If you are more thirsty than usual or have a dry mouth.
  • If you are pregnant.
  • You have a cold or flu-like illness.
  • If you feel more tired than usual.
  • You urinate more than usual.

Contact your doctor about the significance of your specific test results.

Why can ketoacidosis be dangerous?

Having ketones may indicate that your body needs more insulin. For this, always keep checking your blood sugar level to see how much insulin you need. If you have ketones, it can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Signs of DKA include moderate or large ketones, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fruit or acetone, rapid breathing problems, and lack of energy. If left untreated, it can lead to severe and life-threatening diabetic coma or death.

Can You Have Ketoidiosis With a High Blood Sugar?

Ketones are usually accompanied by high blood sugar. In this, you get the signals that your body needs more insulin. If your body needs more insulin, it means you have high blood sugar. Plus, when you have an illness, your body releases hormones in response to stress. These hormones increase blood sugar. That is why it is recommended to test ketone levels during illness.

How to prepare for the Test

Before the test, you will be asked to have a special diet.

You should stop taking any medicine before the ketone test. which may affect your test. This test involves only normal urine and blood tests and does not cause any discomfort.

How is the ketone test done?

This test is done in two ways, in which a urine test and another blood test are done.

How is the urine test done?

Ask your healthcare provider where to buy a urine ketone test kit. The kit normally has a plastic cup, test strips, and directions. Follow the instructions in the ketone test kit. Check the expiration date to make sure the kit hasn’t expired. This an overview of how to test your urine:

  • The ketone test requires the first removal of a clean sample.
  • To test it cleanly in men, you first need to clean the penis.
  • It should be washed with soapy water to test it cleanly in women or girls.
  • A small amount of urine is taken into a container for ketone testing. There is no need to expel large amounts of urine.
  • Dip the ketone strip into the urine sample.
  • These directions will tell you how long to keep the test strip in the urine. Gently shake off excess urine from the bandage.
  • You can also urinate directly on the test strip. The directions will tell you for how long to hold the test strip in your urine stream. Gently shake off excess urine from the bandage.
  • Wait for the test strip to change color. Check how long you need to wait in instructions.
  • Compare the test strip with the color chart given on the bottle. Match the color on your strip to the color on the bottle. The color on the bottle will tell you the number of ketones in your urine. The number of ketones in your urine can be negative, trace, small, medium, or large.

This procedure is adopted to test it in babies.

How is a blood test done?

For a blood test ask your healthcare provider where to buy a meter that tests for blood ketones. This meter is similar to the one used to check your blood sugar level. Your therapist will teach you how to use this meter. A meter can be used to test your blood as follows.

  • Follow the instructions on the meter to test it.
  • Now first of all clean your finger with spirit.
  • Allow your finger to dry for 30 seconds.
  • Use a lancet to prick your finger.
  • Gently prick the lancet on your finger so that it can bleed.
  • Reach the test strip to the blood for a drop of blood.
  • The meter will beep when there is enough blood on the meter.
  • The meter will show you your blood ketone level.

How to check the results?

An unusual result indicates you have ketones in your urine. Results are usually in the form of small, medium, or large. This will let you know what my results mean?

A urine test will reveal if you have it.

  • no ketones
  • trace amounts of ketones
  • moderate levels of ketones
  • large amounts of ketones

Blood Test Results reference

less than 0.6 = normal

0.6 – 1.0 = slightly higher

1.0 – 3.0 = Moderately High

greater than 3.0 = very high

Write your results on a chart. You can then track your level over time. Slightly higher levels may mean ketones have started to build up in your body.

An abnormal result may also be due to

  • due to abnormal food or nutritional intake
  • anorexia
  • fasting
  • high protein or low carbohydrate diet
  • starvation
  • vomiting for a long time
  • metabolic disorder
  • any serious illness
  • burns
  • pregnancy
  • fever
  • hyperthyroidism
  • nursing baby

What can stop the production of ketones in the blood and urine?

Your blood sugar level must be controlled to prevent your body from making ketones. To control your blood sugar level, they may do the following: You can monitor your blood sugar level as per the instructions given here.

  • Report high or low levels to your doctor immediately.
  • You may need more insulin than usual if your blood sugar level is high.
  • Early treatment of high blood sugar levels can stop your body from making ketones.
  • Take insulin and diabetes medications exactly as directed.
  • Do not skip a single dose of insulin or diabetes medicine.
  • Follow your diet plan as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Your doctor can give you more information about what you should eat.
  • You should consult with a dietitian to help you plan your meals.
  • Follow directions for sick days.
  • When you fall sick your blood sugar levels may rise.
  • When you are sick, change your diabetes medicine.

The knowledge above is not a substitute for medical advice. Therefore, before practicing any medication or supplements, please get in touch with your doctor for more details.

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