Ketones are substances that are made when the body breaks down fat for energy. Normally, your body gets the energy it needs from glucose (sugar). If your body cannot use glucose for energy-for example, if your body doesn't make or use insulin-ketones are formed. You might also have ketones if you are not eating enough carbohydrates and your body uses fat for energy instead. Your body wants to get rid of ketones through urine.
Ketones in urine is most common in people who have type 1 diabetes. It is an early sign that there is not enough insulin, and blood sugar may be dangerously high. This can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, a very serious medical problem.
If not controlled, diabetes can cause a host of complications that can affect nearly every organ in the body. Diabetes complications include:
You can test your urine for ketones at home using specially prepared
tablets or plastic strips.
Collect a urine sample in a clean
Follow the manufacturer's directions on the bottle of
test strips or tablets.
If either the test strip or the urine
changes color when the tablet is dropped into the sample, ketones are present
in your urine sample. The test results are read as negative to 1+ to 4+ or
small to large. If the results of your ketone test show that the ketone level
in your urine is more than 1+ or is moderate to high, call your doctor for
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Jennifer Hone, MD - Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
July 1, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
July 01, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this
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Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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