If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, or think you may be suffering from this medical condition, you can take a few different types of tests to find out if you have it or not. One of the most common, and easy to self-administer tests is the ketone test that looks for unusually high numbers of ketone bodies in the urine.

What are Ketone Bodies?

Ketone bodies are water-soluble molecules that your liver produces from fatty acids during fasting, or on low-carbohydrate diets, alcoholic binges, long periods of intense exercise, starvation, or untreated Type 1 Diabetes.

Ketone bodies are produced by the body in any of the above circumstances, as a result of gluconeogenesis. This process creates glucose from non-carbohydrate sources. 

Ketone bodies are released into the blood by the liver along with the newly produced glucose that the human body makes after liver glycogen stores are depleted.  

What is a Ketone Test?

The Ketone test is also known as the ketone bodies test, or the ketones urine test. The test looks for ketones in urine. 

Because those with diabetes don’t produce enough insulin to properly use sugar for energy, ketone bodies may appear in the urine. It’s normal to have some ketones in your body, but someone with diabetes that has a higher than normal count of ketones in the urine is in danger of severe illness or even death.

Those on a Ketogenic diet will produce much lower levels of ketones in their urine than those experiencing the dangerous condition of ketoacidosis.

Why Testing for Ketones is Important

Testing for ketones is important if you have diabetes and any of the following issues:

  • You’ve been fasting for any reason
  • You’re pregnant
  • You’ve been vomiting
  • You’ve got an infection of some kind
  • You’ve abused alcohol
  • You’ve stopped eating carbohydrates
  • Your blood sugar gets above 300 mg/dL
  • You have diarrhea
  • You’ve had increased urination
  • You’re thirstier than usual
  • You’re feeling confused
  • You have fruity or sweet smelling breath
  • You’ve got muscle aches
  • You’ve experiencing shortness of breath
  • You’re having other difficulty breathing
  • You’re nauseated
  • You’re unusually tired
  • You’re experiencing chronic dry mouth
  • You’ve got dry or red skin
  • You’ve got stomach pain

If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to either give yourself a ketone urine test, or go into the doctor’s office to have one conducted there.

Abnormal levels of ketones in the urine indicate that you’ve got a serious condition, and you may need to be immediately hospitalized.  Ketoacidosis is an extremely dangerous condition which can lead to coma and even death.

How Do You Take a Ketone Test?

You’ll need a few basic supplies to conduct your in-home ketone in urine test. You’ll need a small glass or jar to capture your urine in, and you’ll need ketosis strips.

1. Completely read the instructions on your ketosis strips before beginning.

2. Thoroughly wash your hands in warm water with soap.

3. You can hold the ketosis strip in the stream of urine. You’ll need to completely wet the strip.

4. Or you can collect your urine into a clean and dry container or jar. Dip the strip into the jar of urine to the depth recommended by the packaging.

5. Shake off any excess urine from the strip after either method of exposing the strip to your urine.

6. Wait 15 seconds, or the length of time suggested on the package.

7. Compare the color the strip has turned to the instructions on the box.

If your results seem inconsistent for any reason, you should have your blood tested for ketones. You can either go to a medical facility, or, if you’re confident in your testing skills, there are also home-testing kits for this kind of ketone test.

Ketosis Versus Ketoacidosis

For those on a Ketogenic diet, your results may fluctuate significantly. Please note that the ketosis talked about in the Keto diet is not the same thing as ketoacidosis in the least bit. This concept in the Keto diet is heavily reliant on low-carbohydrate intake and high fat-intake. This diet is not recommended for anyone with gall bladder issues. It may however be beneficial to those with Type 2 diabetes.

You May Need to Take a Ketone Test

If you’re diabetic, or suspect you might be, you should conduct a ketone in urine test, or go to your doctor for a urine or blood test to look for ketones. He or she will be able to advise you on any symptoms you may have, like frequent urination, chronic vomiting, or anything that is unusual.

If you conduct your own test and your ketosis strip results in any color nearing the deeper purple range, you should immediately seek medical treatment.

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