If your cells don’t get enough glucose, your body burns fat for energy instead. This produces a substance called ketones, which can show up in your blood and urine. High ketone levels in urine may indicate diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a complication of diabetes that can lead to a coma or even death.
When should I worry about ketones?
Talk to your doctor immediately if your urine results show moderate or large amounts of ketones. This is a sign that your diabetes is out of control, or that you are getting sick. If you are unable to reach your diabetes care team, head for the emergency room or an urgent care facility.
Can you have ketones without having diabetes?
People without diabetes can also have ketones in the urine if their body is using fat for fuel instead of glucose. This can happen with chronic vomiting, extreme exercise, low-carbohydrate diets, or eating disorders.
What do you do if you have ketones?
Check your ketone level.
When you’re ill or stressed, test your urine for excess ketones with an over-the-counter urine ketones test kit. If your ketone level is moderate or high, contact your doctor right away or seek emergency care. If you have low levels of ketones, you may need to take more insulin.
What can cause high ketones?
The causes of high levels of ketones and therefore ketones in your urine include:
- Poorly controlled diabetes.
- Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
- Starvation: not eating for prolonged periods (for example, 12 to 18 hours).
- Anorexia nervosa.
- Bulimia nervosa.
- Alcohol dependency.
- Ketogenic diet (high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet).
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What is the fastest way to get rid of ketones?
You can also try these steps to bring down your ketone levels:
- Drink extra water to flush them out of your body.
- Test your blood sugar every 3 to 4 hours.
- Don’t exercise if you have high blood sugar and high ketones.
Does drinking water reduce ketones?
Drinking more water
Many people suggest that drinking more water may help reduce a person’s keto breath. This is because the body expels more ketones in urine rather than as a breath. By drinking water, people will produce more urine, which will help expel many of the ketones from the body.
What are the symptoms of ketones in urine?
Symptoms of ketone build up include:
- Regular urination.
- Heavy breathing.
- Dilated pupils.
- Mental confusion (rare)
- Breath may also smell of fruit.
What does the presence of ketones in the urine indicate?
The presence of ketones in the urine probably indicates that the body is using fats rather than carbohydrates for energy. High levels of ketones may be present in the urine of individuals with uncontrolled diabetes because the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates is defective.
Can dehydration cause ketones in urine?
Dehydration. High blood sugar levels, which lead to high ketone levels, significantly increase urination and can lead to dehydration.
What to do if your ketones are too high?
Too many ketones can trigger DKA, which is a medical emergency. Regular tests you take at home can spot when your ketone levels run too high. Then you can take insulin to lower your blood sugar level or get other treatments to prevent complications.
Can stress cause ketones?
Results: Our main finding was that social stress markedly increased concentrations of serum β-hydroxybutyrate by 454% in normal weight men. The increase in ketone bodies during stress in normal weight subjects was associated with an increase in ACTH, norepinephrine and epinephrine concentrations.
What organs are affected by ketoacidosis?
DKA can cause complications such as:
- Low levels of potassium (hypokalemia)
- Swelling inside the brain (cerebral edema)
- Fluid inside your lungs (pulmonary edema)
- Damage to your kidney or other organs from your fluid loss.
What happens when ketones are high?
Ketones can show up in blood or urine. High ketone levels may indicate diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a complication of diabetes that can lead to a coma or even death. A ketones in blood test can prompt you to get treatment before a medical emergency occurs.
What is a good ketone level?
A preferable blood level of ketones for dietary ketosis is 0.5 – 3 mmol/L (9 – 54 mcg/dl) ( 11 ). Measuring the ketones in your blood is a more accurate but also more expensive way of measuring ketosis.
What ketone level is too high?
What do my results mean?
|normal/negative||less than 0.6 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)|
|low to moderate||0.6 to 1.5 mmol/L|
|high||1.6 to 3.0 mmol/L|
|very high||greater than 3.0 mmol/L|