Living with Diabetes

Testing Ketones

Testing for ketones in your urine:

Ketones are made when your body breaks down fat to be used as a source of energy. Your body starts to get its energy from fat when the source of energy from sugar in the blood is not enough.  For example, if you fail to take your insulin which means that the sugar in your blood is not going into the cells that need to use it for energy, your body may turn to using fat cells for energy.
Testing for ketones in your urine is a very helpful tool when you have Type 1 Diabetes or if you have Type 2 Diabetes and are being treated with an insulin regimen. Testing regularly can reduce the risk of complications from having an excess amount of ketones build up.
Having a very high level of ketones in your blood can lead to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). You can test to see if your body is making any ketones by doing a simple urine test. There are several products available for ketone testing and they can be purchased from most pharmacies around Kuwait.

When should I test for ketones?

You must test for ketones in your urine in the following situations:

What happens if my result is positive?

If your ketone test in the urine is positive and your blood sugar is high, then you need to call your Diabetes educator or your doctor to adjust your insulin dosage, and also try to consider the following:

Note that a positive ketone test is not a problem when your blood sugar levels are not too high  (i.e. within range). However, it is a problem if blood sugar levels are high and left untreated. Remember that untreated high blood sugar with a positive ketone test can lead to a life – threatening condition and therefore need to be managed in an effective way immediately!