Ketones in Urine: Why They Appear and What They Indicate

There could be a lot of contributing factors on why an individual could have ketones in his/her urine.

ketones in urine

Our body usually uses sugar or glucose and transform it into energy. There could be instances wherein the said compounds are lacking. As a result, the body then transports ketone bodies such as acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyric acid into different tissues as sources of energy.

Generally speaking, there are already ketones present in our blood. Yet, these ketones only increase if the body undergoes a state of fasting, fat burning, or diet such as the Keto diet.

What Causes Ketones in Urine?

There could be a lot of contributing factors on why an individual could have ketones in his/her urine. Patients who have type 1 or 2 diabetes could have an increase in ketones due to the following reasons:

  1. Illness or Sickness
  2. Not enough insulin
  3. Consumed spoiled insulin
  4. Ineffective insulin pump
  5. Missed insulin shot
  6. Missed meals
  7. Not having enough meals

Even a normal person could have the level of ketones in his/her body increased. Such cases could happen if the person falls under any of the following:

  1. Does strenuous activities
  2. Pregnant
  3. Has an eating disorder
  4. Has infection
  5. Has pneumonia
  6. Is prone to heart attack
  7. Lactating women
  8. Does the Keto diet (or any low-carb diet)
  9. Has alcohol abuse
  10. Experiences chronic vomiting or diarrhea
  11. Does Fasting
  12. Other health conditions

For people with diabetes, it is necessary for them to have their ketone levels checked from time to time. This is to make sure their body is getting enough insulin for energy. It is also important to keep track and make sure there is no evidence of ketones in the urine. This is because instances could result in serious health complications like vision problems, heart disease, stroke, hyperglycemia, high blood sugar, and nerve damage.

When to Check Urine for Ketones?

A patient with diabetes must have his/her urine checked every once in a while. A person who falls under any on the category listed above must have the ketone levels checked.

It is important for individuals to have their urine checked every 4 to 6 hours. Most especially if the following instances occur:

  1. Confusion or Brain Fog
  2. Flushed Skin
  3. Abdominal pain
  4. Dry mouth
  5. Vomiting
  6. Consistent nausea
  7. Constant fatigue
  8. Fruity-smelling breath
  9. Common colds or flu
  10. Blood glucose levels exceeding 240 ml/dl

How to Test Urine for Ketones?

Urine testing is pretty easy since it could happen at one’s own convenience or in a laboratory. It’s also recommended for the individual to avoid taking anything a few hours before doing the test.

Urine testing in a lab will only require the patient to submit 1 to 2 ounces of urine in a clean container. Washing of hands as well as cleaning the genital area using a sanitary pad will also be required before testing.

If the person chooses to perform the test at home, a spot test will take place through the use of urine test strips. Performing the urine test is easy – one will have to dip the end of the test strip into fresh urine for a short amount of time only. After waiting for at least 15 seconds, the result on the test strip could then be compared to the chart guide provided on the urine test kit. One will have to match the ketone color on the guide chart.

It is important to keep in mind that before doing the test, one needs to make sure that the test strip hasn’t expired. Colors that will occur after 15 seconds must be ignored. It is even best advised to do the testing in the morning.

Urine test strips don’t even need a prescription. So checking on the closest local pharmacy for urine test strips won’t be much of a hassle.

Ketones may also be measured via breath or blood. But, experts would still recommend urine testing since ketones in the urine could give more accurate results. Remember that the number of ketones basing on results would vary depending on age, gender, diet, health condition, and other factors. This is why it is also advisable to consult a doctor about the results. Since there could be other factors that could have triggered the number of ketones.

The Conclusion

Urine testing is important. This is because knowing one’s ketone levels could prevent other medical conditions to take place. Yet, there could be times where the urine test could be inaccurate – depending on the ketone device. So to get accurate results, one should do the testing every 4 to 6 hours to help track correct ketone levels.

For people with diabetes, urine testing does save them from making their condition worse. The same test is also beneficial for individuals who do the Keto diet or any low-carb diet. Also, doing the Keto diet for an extended period of time may allow the individual to be ketone-adapted. Means to say, urine testing would then be less reliable. In situations like this, blood testing aside from urine testing can help confirm levels of ketones.

To sum it all up, urine testing is pretty useful and helpful. Aside from it prevents one from suffering any serious health condition, it also helps fitness enthusiasts who do low-carb diets in monitoring their progress over time.

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