Ketones in Urine

Ketones in urine is also scientifically referred to as Ketonuria, an anomalous medical condition.  The condition is a general indication of increased level of ketones in the blood.  This is often witnessed in case of pregnant ladies,  Diabetes type 1 patients and people who starve or fast. Production of excessive ketones is a general response to depletion of glucose. In normal conditions no ketones are found in urine. Even in general conditions there is very less or no ketones in the body but certain circumstances can increase the level. 

How are ketones produced?

Ketones are product occurred due to burning of fats for supplying energy to the body. These are commonly produced when a person loses weight or else there is insufficient insulin to aid with sugar utilization for energy. Insufficient energy causes build up of glucose in the blood. Since the body cannot use this glucose to make energy it starts breaking down fats instead. When this phenomenon takes place the ketones develops in the blood and eventually reaches the urine. In fact the kidney excretes ketones into urine from blood to control acidifying consequences of ketones in blood. These ketones can make you feel extremely sick. During diagnosis urinalysis can help in determining the level of ketones in the body. Basic urinalysis can provide general idea about presence of ketones in the urine. 

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High level of ketones can make you extremely sick and can cause a serious condition called ketoacidosis. In case if you blood sugar level is over 14 mmol/L then it is highly suggested to go for ketone test to avoid  complications such as ketoacidosis.


Ketones in Urine – causes

Here are some possible causes of ketones in urine: 

  • Unaddressed diabetes
  • Starvation or fasting
  • Dietary changes especially high protein diet
  • Glycogen storage medical condition
  • Easting disorder such as Anorexia
  • Low carb diet
  • Consistent or too frequent vomiting
  • Increased body temperature
  • Hyperthyroidism or anomalously increased thyroid activity
  • Sickness of acute or severe nature
  • Burns
  • Pregnancy and lactation can also lead to ketones in urine
  • Aftermaths of surgery
  • Dehydration 

Effect of excessive ketone production in the body

If ketone build- up is not treated in a person with type 1 diabetes, the risk factor for diabetic complications may increase. Here are some conditions that may occur due to unusually increased level of diabetes and ketone: 

  • Hyperglycemia wherein increased sugar level is experience in blood
  • Ketoacidosis excessive ketones present in the blood
  • Ketonuria accumulated ketone in urine 

Diagnosis for ketones in urine 

You should go for ketone in urine test if you suffer from the following –

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  • If your blood glucose level is over 250 mg/dl for two consecutive tests
  • If you suffer from illness, infection or injuries too often; this will cause blood glucose level of increase
  • When you blood glucose count is more than 250 mg/dl and you are planning to do exercises
  • Ketone test is also necessary if you are pregnant. 

Symptoms of ketone in urine

There are certain signs experienced by patients who are diagnosed positive for presence of ketones in urine; these are: 

  • Thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Dehydration
  • Queasiness
  • Respiratory issues such as heavy breathing
  • Pupils dilation
  • Fruity smell while breathing
  • Mental confusion is also experienced in rare cases 

Ketones in urine test

Ketone in urine diagnosis is often done through urine test. The tests are done through ‘clean catch urine’ specimen. In males to get clean catch urine sample, the head of the penile shaft should be cleaned. In case of females to obtain the same cleanliness of urine sample, the vulva or area between vaginal lips should be cleaned with soapy water and should be rinsed well. 

When you start urinating for obtaining the sample, allow some urine to flow away into toilet before you start collecting the sample. This will allow the contamination to stay away from the sample that you collect for analysis. Ensure to make your container properly and provide it to the laboratory. The experts will run basic urinalysis which is often sufficient to understand whether the person has ketones in the urine. Usually it is a spot test performed using a dipstick that has chemical coating that reacts in a certain way to ketones. This dipstick is dipped in the provided specimen. The stick changes it color on presence of ketones in urine.  

Testing ketones in urine at your home

You can also do a simple urine test to determine ketones level. There are readily available products for ketone testing. These products can be purchased over the counter at nearest pharmacy. Test results in a range include negative, small, medium or excessive quantity of ketones. If you are diagnosed positive with ketones present in urine, then it is not always a matter of concern as long as your blood glucose level is within normal range and you are trying to shed some weight. The condition may be serious when you are diagnosed positive and the blood glucose level is higher than normal. It is always a better decision to consult a GP if you suspect ketone in urine.

Treatment for Ketones in Urine

The doctor has to find the cause that leads to this condition and then go for a line of treatment.  Since diabetics and pregnant women are vulnerable to ketones in urine,  they may require hospitalization, if the chemical bodies are in excess.  To prevent ketones in urine it is important to avoid skipping meals and drink lots of water. Pregnant women are advised to eat healthy snacks every three to four hours. Before bed-time, the person may have a good nutritious snack consisting of  proteins and starch. Protein can reduce rate of the absorption   carbohydrates by the body. This leads to the body being energetic for longer periods of time.

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