Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Glucose And Ketones In Urine

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Before The Urine Glucose Test

Urinalysis Interpretation Explained Clearly – Glucose & Ketones in Urine

If you plan to take a urine glucose test at a healthcare providers office, you may want to bring with you a list of medications that you are taking, as some medications may affect your test results.

Still, you should take your medications as you normally would unless your healthcare provider advises otherwise. You may also want to drink fluids before you arrive at your appointment so that you can easily produce urine when asked to do so.

What Do My Urine Ketone Test Results Mean

Monitoring ketone levels in urine is important if you have type 1 diabetes. Ketones are more commonly seen in the urine of people with type 1 diabetes than in people with type 2 diabetes.

If youre told to monitor your ketones, ask your healthcare team to help you develop a plan for what to do if you do detect ketones in your urine.

Typical or trace levels of ketones in urine are less than 0.6 millimoles per liter , according to the National Health Service .

A result greater than this means you have ketones in your urine. The readings are usually classified as small, moderate, or large.

How To Do A Blood Ketone Test

A blood ketone test is carried out in a similar way to a blood glucose test

  • Put a blood ketone strip into the meter
  • Prick your finger using the lancing device
  • Allow blood to the ketone strip
  • Wait for the result
  • Safely discard the test strip
  • Discard the lancet into a sharps bin

Note that only a select number of blood glucose meters provide ketone testing functionality.

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How To Test For Ketones

There are three primary ways to test for ketones in your body: through a urinalysis, blood testing, and breath testing. Remember, if you have diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes, testing your urine for ketones should be implemented in your diabetic management plan. Talk to your doctor about ketone testing for more information.


The most popular way to test for ketones is through a urinalysis. This is one of the more accurate, less invasive ways to test and can be done at home with fairly low marginal error. There are urine test strips for at-home testing available in many places over-the-counter.

Blood Testing

Blood testing for ketones is similar to how diabetics measure their blood glucose levels. Youll need a specific device, which can be purchased for at-home use. Once you prick your finger and administer a blood sample, your readings will appear on the screen.

Breath Testing

Finally, you can purchase a device that will measure ketones through your breath. While this is the most convenient method, many people prefer more concrete methods like a urinalysis or blood test.

Understanding Your Results

When you undergo a ketone test, its important to understand how to read your results. There can be small abnormalities, moderate abnormalities, and large abnormalities.

Can Ketones In Urine Harm My Baby

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Ketones do cross the placenta to the baby and there is some concern that a large amount can affect the baby’s cognitive abilities. Occasional traces of ketones in your urine with no other symptoms is usually OK. However, consistently high ketone readings or symptoms of excess ketones could affect your pregnancy.

There isnt conclusive data on the exact correlation, so routine checking for ketones is not common.

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What Is Ketone And Glucose

Brain usually thrives on glucose to carry its essential activities Glucose is the major energy source for brain. However, when a person switches to keto diet which is the low carb diet, the liver glycogen declines and becomes depleted. In such a situation, the liver cells mitochondria produce ketones from bodys stored fat and the process is called ketogenesis. Ketones serve as alternative energy source when glucose supply runs short.

The presence of elevated levels of ketones in the bloodstream is a common issue of blood sugar , which if not treated can result in ketoacidosis. Ketone bodies are always present in the blood. Their levels elevate during fasting and non-stop and prolonged exercise.

Why Do I Have Ketones In My Urine If I Don’t Have Diabetes

You can have ketones in your urine and not have diabetes. Diabetes is just one of the factors that can cause ketones in your urine. Other reasons you may have ketones in your urine are:

  • Lack of carbohydrates in your diet.
  • Fasting or going too long between meals.
  • Extreme workouts or over-exercise.

Most providers don’t test for ketones in your urine except when theres unusually high glucose in your blood, or in cases of dehydration.

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What To Do If You Have High Ketone Levels

Normal blood ketone levels can be different from person to person.

If the ketone levels in your blood are high, youre at risk of DKA. If you suspect DKA, go to your nearest accident and emergency department straight away because youll need hospital treatment. If youre not sure whether you need to go to hospital, call your GP or diabetes team as soon as you can.

We have a lot more information about DKA and what you can do if your ketones levels are high. The most important thing to remember is that you shouldnt ignore your results. If youre not sure what to do next, speak to someone on our helpline or call your diabetes team. You arent alone with your diabetes and support is always available.

Lilly was told her body needed insulin and she also needs to check her blood sugars. Lillys ketones cant be higher than 0.6 and if they are, we would need to go straight to hospital.

Sara, mum of Lilly who has type 1 diabetes.

When Should I Test For Ketones And How Will This Affect The Management Of My Diabetes

ketone and Glucose test strips Mission Glucose Ketone tests

The following information is of relevance to people who need to take insulin.

  • Blood glucose levels rise above 17 mmol/L
  • Blood glucose levels are consistenly above 13 mmol/L
  • If blood glucose levels rise in response to illness
  • If you notice symptoms of ketoacidosis such as vomiting or suffering from diarrhoea

If you record high levels of ketones, contact your health team immediately for advice on how best to manage your diabetes.

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Why Do I Not Have Ketones

Usually, when a person does not lose weight on the keto diet, it is because they have not achieved ketosis. The most common reason for not getting into ketosis is not cutting back enough on carbs. According to a 2019 article on the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates should represent only 510% of a person’s calorie intake.

What Do My Urine Glucose Test Results Mean

Healthy individuals generally shouldnt have glucose in their urine at all. If the test shows the presence of glucose in your urine, you should discuss the possible causes with a doctor.

Urine testing doesnt test your current blood levels of glucose. It can only provide insights into whether or not glucose is spilling into your urine. It also reflects the state of your blood sugar over the prior few hours.

Blood glucose testing is the primary test used to determine actual and current glucose levels.

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Early Signs Of Diabetes

The early signs of diabetes may not be obvious. For some people, the early signs of diabetes are subtle, while other people may experience no symptoms at all.

The onset of symptoms in those with type 1 diabetes is usually more sudden and occurs in childhood. The onset of symptoms in those with type 2 diabetes is more gradual and usually occurs in adulthood.

No matter the type, the following symptoms may be an early sign of diabetes:

  • More frequent urination
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands or feet

Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About A Ketones In Urine Test

China Ketone Test Strips/Ketosis Test Strips

Ketone test kits are available at most pharmacies without a prescription. If you are planning to test for ketones at home, ask your provider which kit would be best for you. At-home urine tests are easy to do and can provide accurate results as long as you carefully follow all instructions.

Some people use at-home kits to test for ketones if they are on a ketogenic or “keto” diet to try to lose weight. On a keto diet you eat mainly foods with little or no carbohydrates. This makes your body use fat instead of glucose for energy, which may increase your ketone levels. A keto diet may not be right for people with certain conditions. Talk with your provider before going on a keto diet to see if it is right for you.

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How To Do A Urine Ketone Test

Before testing, check the expiry date on the tub to ensure the strips are good for use. Also check the instructions which will tell you how long you need to wait, after urine is applied to the strip, before checking the colour chart.

The process for ketone testing will then usually follow steps similar to these :

  • Remove a strip from the tub, taking care not to touch the spongy end of the strip
  • Pass urine over the test area of the strip or, alternatively, collect urine in a container and then dip the test area of the strip into the urine
  • Begin timing immediately after applying urine the strip will begin to change colour
  • After a set number of seconds , compare the colour of the test area to the colour chart on the side of the tub of strips
  • Disregard any colour changes that might happen after the set number of seconds has passed

What Is Normal Ketones Level In Urine

The ketone levels in the urine are normally present at a trace amount or at a very low level. However, if the level is high, the urine test would indicate that the individual has some amount of ketones in the urine. When the level is high, it indicates that the individual is in a state of ketosis.

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What Does The Presence Of Ketones In Your Body Indicate

It has been studied that people how are more prone to have ketones in their urine or have ketonuria have a healthy metabolism as compared to people who do not produce ketones in their urine even after a prolonged period of starving or keto diet. It is a symptom that your body is good at burning fat which is essential for good and healthy metabolism. This is also a symptom that you have reached ketosis which is ultimately the main aim of everyone who is practising the keto diet. However, ketone levels in urine should drop after two to three weeks of being on a diet because your body definitely gets used to the keto diet by that point of time. This means that the ketone production in your body is either not getting utilized or that your body is producing more ketones that are to be used.

However, excess ketones in urine can also indicate a problem of some sort. It can also mean that your body is lacking the amount of glucose and insulin that it needs to function correctly. Too much of ketone production can lead to a condition called ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a condition that causes acidity in the blood and from overproduction of ketones. It is harmful because since it turns up the level of acids in your blood, it can cause medical issues in your body. However, ketoacidosis is not very common unless you suffer from type 1 diabetes.

How Are Ketones In Urine Treated When Youre Pregnant


It depends on the cause. If you have gestational diabetes, youll need to change your diet to manage glucose levels. Your provider may prescribe insulin if diet alone doesnt help. If you have morning sickness accompanied by chronic vomiting, your provider may prescribe medication to help with nausea or have you get IV fluid hydration.

If ketones in your urine are due to inadequate nutrition, your healthcare provider may recommend eating more calories or eating more frequently.

The following dietary tips will help to keep your ketones at a healthy level:

  • Dont skip meals.
  • Drink a lot of water or other fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Eat at least three meals and three snacks daily. Having a snack before bed has been associated with lower ketone levels.
  • Eat a variety of carbohydrates .
  • Include protein in each meal. Some good choices are eggs, beans, meat or tofu.

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Check Your Blood Sugar And Ketone Levels

Check your blood sugar level if you have symptoms of DKA.

If your blood sugar level is 11mmol/L or above, and you have a blood or urine ketone testing kit, check your ketone level.

If you do a blood ketone test:

  • lower than 0.6mmol/L is a normal reading
  • 0.6 to 1.5mmol/L means you’re at a slightly increased risk of DKA and you should test again in 2 hours
  • 1.6 to 2.9mmol/L means you’re at an increased risk of DKA and should contact your diabetes team or GP as soon as possible
  • 3mmol/L or above means you have a very high risk of DKA and should get medical help immediately

If you do a urine ketone test, a result of more than 2+ means there’s a high chance you have DKA and you should get medical help immediately.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Dka

DKA usually develops slowly. But when vomiting occurs, this life-threatening condition can develop in a few hours. Early symptoms include the following:

  • Thirst or a very dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • High blood glucose levels
  • High levels of ketones in the urine

Then, other symptoms appear:

  • Constantly feeling tired
  • Dry or flushed skin
  • Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. Vomiting can be caused by many illnesses, not just ketoacidosis. If vomiting continues for more than two hours, contact your health care provider.
  • Difficulty breathing

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Moderate Amounts Of Ketones In Your Urine

Moderate amounts of urine ketones will show results of 30 to 40 mg/dl and are a cause for concern as this could indicate that ketoacidosis is developing.

If you have diabetes and are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please seek medical attention right away and do not exercise as it can exacerbate conditions.

What Does It Mean When You Test Positive For Ketones

Protein Urine

If you test positive for ketones, it could mean your diabetes is not under control. You could have DKA. People who do not eat enough calories can also develop high levels of ketones. This includes people with alcoholism and those with an eating disorder or malnutrition from a severe illness such as cancer.

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When Should I See A Healthcare Provider For Ketonuria

Ketonuria can be detected with modern glucometers that can detect not only your blood sugar levels but your ketone levels as well.

Ketone levels are measured in millimoles per liter of blood and are considered normal when they are below 1.5 mmol/L.

A reading of above 1.6 mmol/L means that you are at increased risk of ketoacidosis and need to see your healthcare provider immediately.

Ketones And Weight Loss

As noted above, ketones are produced when the body burns fat. Therefore people that are losing a significant amount of weight may experience higher than normal ketone levels.

Ketone testing has also become used by people with type 2 diabetes on ketogenic diets to assess whether they are burning fat effectively. Use of ketone testing in this way is not recommended by the NHS and so ketone testing strips prescribed by doctors are not to be used for this purpose.

Ketogenic diets are not usually recommended for people with insulin dependent diabetes as aiming for higher ketone levels could present a higher risk of ketoacidosis occurring.

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Levels Of Ketones In The Urine

This would be indicated by either getting a negative or abnormal result. A negative result would mean that you are in the green zone of ketone levels. In contrast, an abnormal result would indicate higher ketone levels than normal. This result is then further divided into three different levels of ketones in urine that you should know about, that is, either low , moderate, or high .

Typically if you have a small level of ketones , you can take a deep sigh of relief, as everything is perfectly fine. If you have a moderate level of ketones in your urine , we would encourage you to consult your local healthcare provider for medical advice as a precautionary measure. And if you have high levels of ketones , contact your local healthcare provider immediately and discuss possible treatment methods.

Note: A urine test for ketones would only indicate current levels of ketone and may be less accurate than a blood test. It would be possible that your doctor would choose to administer a blood test.

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What Is A Dangerous Level Of Ketones In Urine

Measuring Ketones: Urine Strips vs Blood Ketone Meter

Modified: May 10, 2022 by John Coleman · This post may contain affiliate links ·

The level of what now? If this is your first time hearing or reading about it, dont worry. We have you covered! Ketones are essentially a by-product of burning fat in the body. The presence of ketones in urine has been a topic of hot debate among ketogenic dieters and health experts. Some people say that ketones in urine after a high-fat meal are completely normal.


In contrast, others believe that it indicates diabetic ketoacidosis when high levels of ketones are found in your urine. But before we jump to conclusions, lets get the facts straight, shall we?

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about ketones in urine, what a dangerous level of ketones in the urine is, common symptoms you should look out for, and how to prevent ketone formation . So, enough chit chat, and lets dive right into it.

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